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No Motrin Moms effect on CRTC’s decision on net neutrality November 20, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts.
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5 comments

The writers of an excellent New-West-based-and-focused blog, “10th To The Fraser” tweeted earlier this morning:

Where is the #motrinmoms effort for #netneutrality? Where’s the passion to put the same level of pressure on the CRTC as moms put on Motrin?

Sadly, nowhere to be found. Numerous (some of the best) bloggers in Vancouver and elsewhere wrote and tweeted about the Motrin Moms Twitter debacle (you can use Summize to find out about that discussion, I think the hashtag is #motrinmoms).

(c) Rob Cottingham, 2008 - Used with permission

(c) Rob Cottingham, 2008 - Used with permission

I have read a few blog posts and tweets about net neutrality and the CRTC decision, but not nearly as many as I’ve glanced at with regards to the Motrin Moms debacle. I admit that even I hadn’t really written much about net neutrality until recently, when Steve Anderson sent me a link to his site, SaveOurNet.ca

I completely agree with 10thToTheFraser’s tweet that it’s unfortunate that the same level of effort is nowhere to be found. This can be attributed to several reasons. Let’s pose a few hypotheses (no need to discount any just yet):
1.- Bloggers/twitterers don’t care about net neutrality.
2.- Bloggers/twitterers don’t understand the implications of Bell Canada throttling bandwith.
3.- Even if they care AND understand the implications, they have better things to write about.
4.- The impact of Motrin’s ad on moms worldwide is larger than the impact of net neutrality on Canadians.
5.- …. [insert your own hypothesis]

Why is it that when it comes to galvanizing people’s opinion, we seem to be unable to do so? This irks me to no end. I have undertaken scholarly studies of environmental mobilizations, and have found that, unless the issue at stake is of PERCEIVED vital relevance (e.g. toxic emissions in the vicinity of your neighbourhood), environmental non-governmental organizations fail to mobilize the public. Inertia and inactivity are just too easy. It seems that the same is true for social media. ARGH.

EDIT – Hat tips again to Rob Cottingham who pointed me out to this blog post of Michael Geist.

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Quick iPhone in Rogers stores update July 11, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, friends.
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2 comments

So this post is not even well thought out because I just woke up at like 7.30 am and went directly to meet Tanya and Tod at the flagship Fido store and then went to the Rogers on Broadway and Arbutus where I saw Travis. Photos and video are uploaded here. [Sorry, took the video with my Flip camera]

I interviewed Travis on what was going on at Arbutus and Broadway.

Some photos from today’s madness at the Fido flagship store AND the Rogers Broadway are on my Flickr.

Jul 10-11 2008 041

Jul 10-11 2008 038

Things that absolutely were terrible, as indicated by participants:

– No real breakfast (water, juice and power bars – what the heck?)
– System failure (they couldn’t do upgrades, only new accounts and even then, their system failed).
– They didn’t have enough personnel to handle all the requests.

Overall assessment – FAIL – but heck, some of my friends, including John Biehler, already got their iPhone!

Greenwashing, greenhushing and the IKEA Way June 30, 2008

Posted by Raul in environment, food for thought, public policy issues, sustainability.
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2 comments

Often times, I get so carried away with the whole social media and tech discussions (try Googling iPhone Rogers and you’ll know what I am talking about) that I tend to forget to talk about the field where my expertise lies: environment. I did not go to graduate school in this field just to let it slip through the cracks. So I was quite pleased to see a few opportunities opening for me this week to have enviro-geek discussions on my blog, and meld my two worlds: tech-geeky and enviro-geeky.

Darren Barefoot is helping IKEA Canada spread the word about IKEA’s most recent initiative: The IKEA Way. What is this? In a nutshell,

The IKEA Way is our promise. We promise that we’re working towards having an overall positive impact on people and the environment. In other words, we’re going to be nice to people and nice to the planet. Sounds ambitious for a global company? It shouldn’t. We believe it’s just part of smart business, but more than that — it’s the right thing to do. [The IKEA Way – What We Do]

In the academic literature I have frequently come across the concept of “GreenWashing”. In non-enviro-geek terms, greenwashing refers to the deployment of a series of strategies and tactics that will make your company “look” green but it does not mean that you will indeed be undertaking measures to reduce your company’s environmental impact.

While doing a little research for this post, I came across a really neat article on TreeHugger titled “Greenhushing doesn’t help anyone“. So what is greenhushing? Pretty much the opposite of greenwashing: when a company doesn’t want to promote its environmentally-conscious efforts for fear that they will be taken as greenwashing.

As Stiffelman points out, greenhushing may just be as bad as greenwashing. Why not promote your efforts if you are actually a company that is trying to better its environment? That’s one of my own personal pet peeves. If you have it, flaunt it! The whole concept of eco-labelling is predicated on this idea – my products are more environmentally-friendly, thus merit eco-labels (be it SeaChoice, Forest Stewardship Council, Environmental Choice or any of the other ecolabels floating around).

The IKEA Way seems to me like a good initiative (I have been perusing the website and offered some feedback on how the website and the overall initiative can be strengthened). Of course, there is work to be done, but at least, these are some steps towards better environmental performance. And besides, who doesn’t like IKEA furniture? I do… 😀

Moreover, this looks like a perfect mesh of Web 2.0 and environment. This is the direction where my own work is going to go, I can see that. I like to harness the power of Web 2.0 to effect social change and sustainability. Hat tips to Darren for pointing me out to the IKEA Way.