Monthly Archives: April 2010

Time Needed

I'm Attending Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010 Global Voices Summit will take place on May 6-7 this year in Santiago, Chile. My ticket is ready. My visa is at hand. This will be my first ever trip to Latin America (and Southern Hemisphere). In theory, I should be reading lots and lots of travel info now, preparing to make the best use of my short visit there. As a person like me, by now, I should have known how to get from airport to hotel. I should have bought a travel guide. I should have been insomnia for thinking about it all the time. I should have contacted other GV people.

But I’ve done nothing so far, and I totally blame myself for it.

It’s really hectic this month. I put myself in a situation that I am sleepy all week long. Although I always laugh at myself as workaholic, this is really not a good sign. Many blog topics have emerged, but I simply don’t have time or energy to put my hands on them.

On my way back to Taiwan in March, I watched Up in the Air while flying in the air. I’m totally in love with the film, and completely identify with the obsession towards frequent flyer programs. I really want to tell someone how I feel about it, and what researches I’ve done recently about in-flight magazines, but I am simply out of time.

Deadlines are driving me crazy recently. Usually, things I hate to do are done to support what I enjoy doing. We all need to put something on dinner table, after all. Recent weeks, though, I am overwhelmed by things I hate.

I also have an article about death in mind, but before that, I need to get rid of another deadline.


Created Demand

HomeAs far as I know, this event is there for several years now. On April 15th, Starbucks in many countries will provide free brewed coffee if you bring a reusable cup or mug to their stores. The company says it’s doing so in response to Earth Day on April 22nd. (Oh, there is another site for Earth Day) Unsurprisingly, long lines of people are formed in front of Starbucks today, including Taiwan. Even some of my friends who normally don’t drink coffee are bringing their mugs that day to Starbucks, because “it’s free”.

I am always surprised how popular and common for people in Taiwan to drink cup(s) of coffee on a daily basis. Every morning around 9am or 10pm, there are always people, male and female, young and old, in lines at convenient stores, cafes, coffee shops, for their “morning starter(s)“. It’s very often to here local people saying “I can’t start my work/day without coffee”.

But it’s mostly created demand, to be honest. They didn’t really need a cup of coffee to start their day, until they persuade themselves so.

I don’t know exactly which year coffer became popular in Taiwan (Could it be the year Starbucks arrived?), but anyway, when I was young, coffee was quite exotic. In the past, people in Taiwan had soybean milk or milk for breakfast, now coffee is most people’s first choice.

Personally, I can’t drink coffee very often, as I would get stomach ache. In some ways, it’s quite fortunate, because I save quite a few money for that. At least, I am not obsessed with the atmosphere of “working/reading in cafe.”

I don’t really understand how people believe the idea that “consume more will save the world”, but it’s happening everywhere. You would save more trees if you drink coffee with your reusable mug (although more coffee beans mean more carbon foodprint, let alone if you buy a new mug for that). You would help the world by joining auctions for Earth Day organic cotton T shirts (Do you really need one more T shirt to prove you are an environmentalist?). You would save more power by turning off lights for one hour (although you use a lot more candles during that hour).

This year is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, so lots and lots of events will be held around the world, almost for sure. Many people around the world have already turned off power for one hour, in support of Earth hour on March 27th, to show the importance to save the world.

I have an easy (but a bit wild to some people) idea. How about this year on Earth Day, in order to celebrate, everyone drinks no coffee or one cup less for a day? Since so many people are willing to withstand darkness for one hour, being less productive or clear-headed (as you may think) for one day isn’t that difficult, right? Those coffee companies will hate this idea, but why would I care? 😛

Just don’t drink your coffee on that day. Simple and easy. It’s a statement, and it costs nothing in your wallet/purse.

Connected, A Bit

I always envy some people who have lots of connections, especially because they have chances to travel around the world and meet new (crucial) people. By crucial, I don’t mean those people you would often see on TV. Being on TV nowadays may lead to notoriety or overrated fame at full speed. Real crucial people, in my recent definition, are those can help people with their efforts, even remotely, even online. These people, more often, will lead you to more connections.

Yesterday I met a Microsoft guy Gisli Olafsson (@gislio) from Iceland, and yes, this is the first Icelander I know in person. He gave us a presentation about disaster responses and how crowds online can help, sharing his Haiti experience, as he is also involved with United Nations.

During the presentation, he mentioned information overload and how to select needed information. I believe we in Global Voices have done a good job so far on that. By the way, for people who are interested in information overload and how people deal with that in recent Kyrgyzstan chaos, I recommend this article by Gregory Asmolov from GV.

Later, he started to talk about projects and people who are involved with related works. Surprisingly, I know some of them, either online or in person. That moment, I feel I am finally somewhat connected to the wider world.

My own network-building is by no means finished, but finally, during his presentation, I feel it’s no longer a blank page.