On Every Corner, Real Hope

Street_corner_hope

There is a guy who stands on the corner in the 90+ degree heat here every day trying to sell his book.

Calling out to passer-bys, he repeats, “This is a motivational book. It has my autograph.”

Again and again, the people pass him by without even a second look.

I see him in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening–whenever I go down this street–and he is still standing there trying, trying, trying to sell his book.

The feeling I got was, not only didn’t I want his “motivational book,” but also (not to be mean), it was completely de-motivating watching him trying to sell it.

Usually with marketing, I would imagine that people want self-help books from other people that have clearly demonstrated success.

Those who have a compelling story to tell can tell us about a dragon they have slain–where we can transfer the feelings of success, the challenges overcome, and the lessons learned from the author to ourselves.

But because this guy is standing on the street corner, no one wants to purchase his book or give him a chance.

The guy standing on the corner is not the person in the “corner office.”

Yet, I have a feeling his story would be an interesting story to hear.

Perhaps, his story is even more compelling, because it’s from “the streets” and not from someone born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

But he is a stranger, selling a book on the corner, and I don’t go up to him to ask.

Standing on the corner, in the heat, peddling a book for a few bucks, could be you or I–it’s too easy to forget that.

I pray that G-d has mercy to help us all earn a fair days pay for a decent days work–not everyone is so blessed.

On every street corner, there can be real hope.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Hanne)

Video Chat TMI

This is a new video chat service from Airtimeand the music and video make it look pretty good, but I have my sincere reservations.

Airtime connects as an app from Facebook and according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11-17 June 2012), “users can then talk to their Facebook friends, search for someone with similar interests, or just hit the ‘next’ button to find a random chat partner.”

While, I find the idea of randomly engaging online with someone intriguing, I also more find it more than a little scary not knowing who they reallyare–there are plenty of fraudsters, charlatans, and perverts out there that you would not want to be talking to.

The not so funny thing is that the precursor to Airtime called Chatroulette–was truly, as the name implies, a gamble and many times a bad one at that, with some unscrupulous users availing themselves of the video to expose themselves online.

Frankly, it seems that many people may be using these applications more as swingers to hook up, have a fling, and engage in flirtatious or even sexual behavior than for developing any sort of real meaningful relationships.

Furthermore with Airtime, based I assume on people’s Facebook profiles, “as two users converse, Airtime suggests interests and common friends they may have in common”–with these actually popping up on your screen!

Whatever happened to any sort of privacy and discretion in sharing and letting conversations and relationships evolve naturally and over time between people rather than forced and in your face!

To me even the concept of having to use video when chatting is over-rated! I think most people do notfeel all that comfortable in front of the camera and are actually more at ease talking without being viewed every moment through a lens.

I have seen cameras deployed for desktop computers that were hardly ever used. And even with Apple’s Facetime application built right into the iPhone, I rarely ever see anyone actually using this–do you?

I think this is a clear lesson with technology that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

We need to take into account people feelings and their comfort zone, especially when it comes to privacy, and not just put them in front of every camera and float their personal interests and friends randomly or regularly.

“Discretion is the better part of valor” and it’s time to appreciate technology and social media companies and applications that recognize this and roll out services that are respectful of people privacy, security, and right to have some control over their lives.