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April 30, 2012

Be Inspired by Technology, Not Irritated by It

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Got a few minutes to be inspired by technology today? Can’t stomach another how-to post or dramatic Google-focused news story — or is that just me? Monday started off feeling a bit more “Mondayish” than I would have liked, and I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way (quiet down, eternal optimists). If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to become caught up in the details of this tactic or that strategy to the point of losing sight of the bigger picture. That’s why I love TED Talks and it’s also why I love technology — because it’s part of something bigger … even if I have to be reminded ever so often. Today, I found the inspiration I needed in some very moving, tech-focused stories via TED Talks, and I wanted to share those with you. 

The following three videos each talk about a different type of medium in tech — texting, blogging and apps — but they have a common thread: connecting people, sentiment and action in new, life-changing ways.

So take a few moments throughout your day today to watch these short videos, be inspired and remember how your role in tech is contributing to the bigger picture. If you’re feeling really moved, share with us in the comments section below how your company or career contributes to something bigger through tech. We’d love to hear your story.

Texting That Saves Lives

In this Ted Talk, CEO of DoSomething.org, Nancy Lublin, talks about how texting as a medium to reach people – actually *reach* them to make a difference in their lives – was something that was discovered accidentally during texting campaigns her organization was performing for unrelated events. In this short talk, Nancy discusses the power of texting not only in terms of helping people directly, but also as a means to prevent undesirable and unspeakable things from happening in our society through meaningful data.

Half a Million Secrets

Do you have a secret? You’re not alone. PostSecret.com, the most visited ad-free blog in the world, has been collecting anonymous secrets since 2004. In this talk, the man behind the confessions, Frank Warren, discusses how the freedom of sharing secrets anonymously has allowed people to identify with one another, to bring them closer together, to leverage ideas, to promote random acts of kindness and much more. This one, you have to watch until the very end.

Coding a Better Government

Think for a minute about the power of an offline community that’s able to connect and help one another in ways that were not possible before through the use of government-supported technology like apps. This is the talk led by Jennifer Pahlka of Code for America, where she discusses how apps created and used by local governments have moved people to be an active part in maintaining their community, to help a neighbor who maybe wouldn’t have reached out for help, and to make the government run more like the Internet – open, permissionless, generative. Find out how the government is creating community through simple apps, giving some people a renewed sense of hope and perspective on how the government can work for the people, and how the people can work for each other.

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2 responses to “Be Inspired by Technology, Not Irritated by It”

  1. Andy @ FirstFound writes:

    Brilliant examples Jessica, thanks.

    And it’s nice to see PostSecret quoted as an inspiration.

  2. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Andy, I’m glad you liked them as much as I did. Have a great day. Always nice to hear from you!



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