the birth of a new legacy perhaps?

I remember reading an article in NYTimes on Jan 21/09 covering the “Nation’s Many Faces in Extended First Family.” As an appendix to this article was the great graphic below giving us a glimpse of this First Family, to demonstrate that this family has multicultural roots.

firstfamily

Inherent in a multicultural family arise many issues for a society, which traditionally has been so ingrained in homogeneity, both with respect to visibly noted differenced as well as socially practiced ideals. Issues of tribe, religion, language, to name only a few.

No, I am not a member of a visible minority, that is, I’d like to think being female does not put me in that category. I was raised in Canada and would like to think that multiculturalism is an accepted way of life. However, I still question whether that is possible. As my focus tends to be about language and the inexorable connection between language and culture, let me develop the Canadian problem. French is an official language of Canada, but how many Canadians actually speak French? Let’s just say, in the US where Spanish is not the official language (nor is English for that matter), a larger percentage of English speakers are inclined to learn Spanish than Canadians learn are to learn French (after obligatory school instruction).

Can we really look at ourselves within our milieu and  state that one culture does not predominate? Although we are getting better, I still think we have a long way to go…

I hope this First Family will pave the way for a truly multicultural society, free of race superiority and xenophobia.

Annunci

thinking about twitter…

[updated: April 16] gapingvoid is back on Twitter! LOL

over a month ago, I had stumbled across the blog of hugh macleod and took a moment to laugh at myself. of course, one thing leads to another then we started following each other on twitter. This morning I noticed he was not tweeting about alpine TX or his book deal, actually he deleted his twitter account. From avid twitterer (‘cause it does get addictive) to deleted twitterer overnight? i was a bit surprised…

the reality of twitter is this: twitter is becoming the next big thing, the it girl, because it is the new communication tool for business (e.g., JetBlue), politics (e.g., Obama), news (e.g., NY times), academia (i.e., my work), and, of course, schmoozing (everyone else who uses it regularly). We use this social networking service to make connections, to collaborate, to discover, to learn in a way that wasn’t possible before this type of tool. A friend mentioned yesterday that news from silicone valley, for example, that previously would take a few days to break (via other forms of communication), is now instantaneous.

of late, twitter has been making some upgrades, simplifying its layout somewhat. it’s not perfect, could use some more improvements (e.g., it apparently loses some replies somewhere out there in the twittosphere) but it is readily accessible via web, OS applications (twhirl, twitterific, spaz), browser apps (firefox), desktop platforms (netvibes, pageflakes), widgets for blogs, facebook, etc., and, last but not least, mobile phones. This accessibility, the 11+ million users (ok, not all regular twitterers), makes twitter worth exploring.

All I have to do now is convince the 18,000 students who attend the university, and the majority of our faculty and staff … no small task. 😉

kickass twitter posts…do’s and don’ts

experimenting with twitter in the classroom has had me conduct research on a different level–not peer-reviewed journals as is always the case in academia but rather blogs on twitter and qualitative analysis of what people say and do with Twitter (basically, I am conducting two different research projects simultaneously).

this morning I came across a post B.L. Ochman’s what’snextblog and discovered this list applicable to all Twitterers, I suppose. I have interspersed my comments amongst his her points, so feel free to oppose, support or just comment…

     

  1. Don’t be pedantic. We don’t care what you’re eating for lunch, or that you just woke up. Actually, the culture value of these types of tweets is phenomenal for a language learning. Language doesn’t happen in a vacuum. See my first post Twitter’s “what are you doing?”
  2. Don’t use Twitter just to pimp your blog posts. I’m not guilty of this, am I? Actually, maybe a little.
  3. Don’t rant (unless you are Vaspers.) Occasional venting isn’t a problem. We are “family”, after all.
  4. Don’t pimp your clients all day or friends, for that matter
  5. Don’t over-tweet. If you need half a dozen tweets to make your point, do one that points to a blog post. Amen to that! It’s only 140 characters…
  6. Don’t share breaking news that you can’t confirm. Learned my lesson, never again.
  7. Do link to interesting articles, sites, blog posts. Doesn’t always have to be about “me”?
  8. Do continue your conversation with another tweetie offline after a couple of @someone tweets Being voyeuristic is one thing, but as stefanomainardi said, out of respect for others, some information/conversations should be personal.
  9. Do include links in as many of your posts as possible.
  10. Don’t be dull.
  11. Do pick up the phone and call tweeties with whom you interact often. Actual conversation, what a novel idea!
  12. Answer and ask questions. Why follow twitterers otherwise?
  13. Be polite. i.e., again, why follow people or have a following? We don’t need to engage in uncivilized tweeting.
  14. Don’t be boring. Hmmm, what do you consider boring? Our concepts differ.
  15. Don’t be overly critical of other people’s points of view.
  16. Don’t be promiscuous with the “Follow” button. There are only so many hours in a day. Exceptions to the rule: Barack Obama, Scobleizer, etc., of course.
  17. Don’t feel bad about blocking people. You don’t have to let everyone and his dog follow you. Twitter is a network, the benefit should be two-way. Also, like all forms of communication, there are junk-micro-blogging twitterers, spam twitterers, etc. Caveat emptor!
  18.