More Stories about Racism at WalMart

A commenter shares her story of racism at WalMart on the podcast post One Man Protests Racism at Walmart. At first I wondered how she found my site. Then I went to Google and searched for the keywords ‘Racism’ and ‘Walmart’ and found this…
Google Top Ranking

Yes…that image means my blog post was the first hit on Google for those keywords on Friday July 1, 2005. Do companies understand what public opinion and high Google ranking means?

Sadly Gayle Bryant had a racist experience at a WalMart in Minnesota. The Pioneer Press in St. Paul, MN wrote an article about it called Shopper alleges Wal-Mart racism.

Ring Tones for Revolution

A cell phone ring tone is being used as a tool of protest by the opposition to Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The protesters are calling for her resignation because the recording used in the ring tone sounds like President Arroyo discussing the fixing of the presidential election. The example I heard on BBC radio had a hip hop beat with a woman’s voice saying, “Hello Garci”. As if talking with senior Philippines election official Virgilio Garcillano.

“In the full conversation, which the government says was illegally wiretapped and then doctored, a woman who sounds like Arroyo asks senior election official Virgilio Garcillano whether she would win by more than 1 million votes in a southern area.” From: Khaleej Times

Imagine a world where we make our own media by recording what ever we hear with our cellphones and play the audio recordings back like voice mail or convert them into ring tones to “broadcast” to your immediate vicinity. We might huddle around our friends cell phones to get the latest news. Or maybe we’d hear it from a distance in the next cubicle over. After hearing about this story on BBC radio I kept imagining what it would be like if a large crowd played the same protest ring tone all at once. I’m not sure if that would be musical or unbearable noise. Whichever I say, Bring on the noise!

Whether or not the source audio is real, this is an amazing example of a swarm advocacy. This is media broadcast by the people!

Via: BBC radio, Boing Boing, Smart Mobs

I’m going to Live 8 Philly!

This just too wild! Looks like I’ll be going backstage at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia, PA on July 2. I’m driving 8+ hours from NC to PA. Then when the show is over I’ll drive back. Dang, talk about whirl wind tour! To top it all off, when I get home I can sleep a few hours and then hang with my new in-laws and my parents who will meet for the first time at our engagement party. At least I’ll have some stories to tell. 😀 Also Ruby is the best partner any man, or woman, could hope for! Live 8

I’m against Poverty

Recently David Sifry, Technorati’s Founder & CEO, announced that 50 bloggers will be given backstage passes to the Live 8 concerts organized by Bob Geldof. To get a chance to go you have some interesting requirements. This promotional campaign is really novel. It could demonstrate the swarm power of bloggers and podcasters. The power of individuals to organize around a common cause and create lasting positive change.

As the One campaign video says, “We’re not asking you for your money, we’re asking for your voice.” Is this a real example of network centric advocacy on a massive scale or a sophisticated marketing campaign hustle? Or both? Either way it boils down to trust. I suspend my skepticism and give this action my trust.

All I really want for participating is to learn how the money and political capital raised from this event saved real lives in Africa. Live 8

We Are Marie

On July fifth Marie Gonzalez and her family are being forced to leave the United States. Because of unreliable legal advice and broken US Immigration law the Gozalez family overstayed their visa. They didn’t find out that their immigration status had lapsed until they were placed under deportation proceedings.

Fifteen days before they have to leave Marie started podcasting and blogging. Here’s her blog and here’s her podcast feed Please download the mp3s and listen to what she has to say.

This is one of the best examples of activist podcasting I’ve heard. It’s exactly what I’m trying to tell people is possible. Maria’s podcast demonstrates how a simple recorded phone call, nothing real fancy just a elegant and heartfelt message, can document the important moments in peoples lives. The experience of listening to her podcast is as if she called my phone voice mail and shared her thoughts just with me. I feel honored to listen to her story. Because of the first person conversation style we can all catch a crucial glimpse of peoples lives. It can really motivate you to act.

Here are some ways you can take action to help Marie and her family. Contact your elected representatives and tell them to intercede on their behalf. Specifically if you live in Missouri your Republican Senators — Kit Bond and James Talent can introduce a private bill on the Gonzalez behalf. Also there’s a electronic petition to sign.

Apple the new media Gatekeeper

I love Apple computer hardware and software, but Apple is poised to be more of a media gate keeper than an independent media enabler. How will they reconcile this contradiction? How can we reconcile this contradiction?

With the introduction of podcasting (more precisely PODCATCHING) abilities in iTunes 4.9 via the iTunes store Apple sets themselves at the nexus of content and profit with a method to CHARGE people for podcasts. Now this may be great for Adam Curry and Todd Maffin but will it truly be a fair “market” for all podcasters? How can podcasters get as much buzz as Adam Curry? Could I get my face (brand) on the front of the main Apple website? Will Apple help us be that famous? What kind of power and influence do I have to bring to the table to play with Apple the media mogul? Would I even want to go through all the crap to get there? What will my mind and soul look like after that journey?

Just having the ability to sell podcasts via iTunes doesn’t mean you’ll have enough hype to make money. (Making money, meaning you earn more than you spend.) Fact is there are already several 500 pound gorillas in the room with Apple, music, and Podcasting. This could prevent me or any other Podcaster from getting the world wide attention, via the iTunes store, that would allow us to become 500 pound gorillas ourselves. Apple could help us obtain the weight and voice to change our lives and the world. How are you going to act with social responsibility Apple?!

As for me, I rather be famous for 15 people, keep my Podcasts free, and work to amplify the voices of people ignored by Apple and iTunes. I plan on using the tools Apple makes to keep them honest! That’s how I’m going to reconcile my contradiction.

Hacked NCDOT sign says, “End Torture Now”

My friend Mike sent this in an email to me this morning:
“today i was driving down western blvd in raleigh and there was an NCDOT electronic sign noting that pullen road was closed. right after it flashed that message, the sign read: “End Torture Now”. I totally spewed decaf all over an already dirty car and slowed way down so as to read again. sure enough, “Pullen Road Closed Ahead”, pause, “End Torture Now”. ahhh, if only the rest of the day had been so surprising and revealing.”

Wow! I wish I had a picture of that! Anyone grab one?