Sex Education Training

What’s the difference between training and education?

If you are in or interested in education, you should enjoy this explanation which I heard via Mitch Joel in his intro to Six Pixel’s of Separation podcast #104. Quoting a conference speaker Mitch heard in Toronto, he shared with us how to make the difference:

Any of you fathers in the audience have a daughter? If so, the question I have for you is whether you would rather your daughter have sex training or have sex education?

Simple distinction.

So, what does education mean? As Socrates believed, education (educere, to lead or draw out in Latin), is about making apparent what you already know. For example, one is led to understand one’s own value system. But, it also speaks in part to the pedagogical method of having people learn through experiment or experience: the interaction brings out the learning–in which case training has all its place. Merriam-Webster writes as a second definition of education: “the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process.” A school formally considers imparting knowledge as its core contribution to a student’s education. The question, however, is to what extent a school’s remit is to work on the secondary component, that of development? What should “development” look like? Learning how to learn, rewarding curiosity, instilling manners & discipline, teamwork, sex education… etc. Where does it start and end?

In France, in the Figaro of 6 June 2008, LCI OpinionWay presents the results of a survey saying that 89% of those interviewed were favourable to an obligatory « real moral and ethical instruction » at primary schools. In the same survey, 93% said that French primary education needed to return to the basic knowledge of reading, writing and counting. For the debate on France’s national education, see page 12 of the pdf file here.

Another interesting question in the same survey, showed that 31% of respondents believe that it is a priority to reform the training of the teachers, in France. And in a curious spin, the survey showed a range of 18% up to 52%, according to the Presidential candidate the respondent voted for: basically with those voting for the left [Ségolène Royal 18%] feeling reform is less a priority while on the right [Sarkozy 44% and Le Pen 52%] feeling that it is more a priority. Voters of Bayrou were down the middle at 36%.

In French, the word education is typically translated as “formation.” The Larousse writes: “Conduite de la formation de l’enfant ou de l’adulte.” Etymologically, formation is quite a strong term — ironically, word formation is a definition of etymology, too. In its execution, however, “formation” is regularly closer to “training.” Education encompasses a wider mandate and, in the case of sex [or athletics] training, is less a question of repetition and more about the context. I tend naturally to attribute to education terms such as ‘life skills.’ And I continue to advocate that sports is a very good way to bring life skills into the education of a child.

In any event, as a close to this post, when I asked a couple of mothers of daughters whether they preferred their daughter(s) receive sex training or sex education, they both smiled and said, under certain conditions, each had their benefit. Even sex training depends on the context.

Review: Join the Conversation by Joseph Jaffe

Join the Conversation JaffejuiceI am officially Joining the Conversation, starting with this review of Joseph Jaffe’s latest book, Join the Conversation (JTC). In full disclosure mode, I am writing this review as part of Joe’s experiment UNM2PNM (how to use new media to prove new marketing).

Written in a very conversational style with a slew of real world corporate examples (typically of how NOT to proceed), JTC features Joe’s characteristic verve and bold statements that are bound to entice a few reactions from the world without. For the most part, I could only agree with Joe’s assessments and recommendations. Here are some of the points that I believe deserve highlighting:

  • Chapter 10: Why are you so afraid of Conversation? This wiki-chapter is a walk-the-talk (literally) example of new age collaborative writing. Via a wiki, people were invited to contribute and cross-edit freely, ending up with articles from sixteen marketeers giving their spin as to why people (and companies) don’t liberally join in the conversation. I was pleased to gain the autograph of Mitch Joel for his section, The New Power of the Individual (p 115).
  • In Chapter 15, Conversation through Community, I cite the Cluetrain Manifesto that defines community as “a group of people who care about each other more than they should.” That’s a valhalla concept for a brand to achieve. But, getting that to happen means figuring out how to get to the bottom of CARE. As Joe says later, “[b]rands have to know their role and place in conversation. Truthfully, it an extremely loose, amorphous, and situational role that not only changes from case to case but indeed may evolve and shift within a single conversation.” (p 187). Not a piece of cake, but that’s what it will take to do successful marketing in the new age.
  • The Dell Case, where John Cass (Research Fellow) describes the rules of engagement: “You have to be transparent. You have to be fact-based. You must be conversational. And you have to be rapid with your response…” (p 286). As Joe says, the art of conversation (and humour for that matter) is in the timing. But, I was curious how that holds true when, on the following page, Joe says that “it is never too late to join the conversation.”
  • The RFiD grid (page 203, 205) felt a little forced. It’s a catchy moniker; but, specifically, I found recency a little confusing (if not contrived) when used to describe time elapsed between visits. Recency is all about the last time someone visited, which relates to the “newness.” That said, the notion of the shortness of gaps between visits is a novel, if unproven measurement of satisfaction.
  • In characteristic Jaffe-ness, in chapter 18, bouncing off author Seth Godin’s post, Joe elaborates a Manifesto for Experimentation. Here is the key: “To be successful, marketing organizations will need to foster and adopt an aggressive and intensive culture of experimentation, risk-taking, change management (for communications), and creativity.”
  • Wasn’t totally enamoured with the expression “transformational change” (page 262), but I subscribe to the notion of the “spiraling” line in terms of the process of innovation in a company. And, yes, failure is a vital ingredient… just like falling is an important part of learning how to ski. Besides which, if you don’t fall, typically, you are not skiing hard enough.
  • We know that prosumer is quickly becoming mainstream when it is wikipedia; but give credit where it is due…the term was coined by Alvin Toffler back in 1980 (in his book, The Third Wave).

Meanwhile, how ironic that the 2K bloggers — the face of the blogosphere, the blog of bloggers blogging — that were part of the creation of the JTC book are in the throes of converting their own website from a blog to a forum… 2k forumers doesn’t sound quite as good.

I have not read yet the JTC alter-ego, The Age of Conversation which just did a rather similar campaign of an Amazon bumrush (was the week of March 29)… I get the feeling that bumrushing is part of the age of new marketing, too. This book, edited by Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan, is a compilation of 400-word essays by 100 bloggers on the topic of conversation. Taking Joe’s Chapter 10 concept all the way, it is obviously a 100% collaborative effort. Anyway, you can order The Age of Conversation here or at Amazon.

In any event, Join the Conversation is a must read for any new media marketiers (marketing + frontier mashup) out there — and hopefully for the old-world marketers as well.

It’s not exactly like me to promote anything to do with cigarettes, but this 1960’s ad by Newport seemed to strike a chord (if not a match, made in heaven). The conversation per se is only symbolic, but this ad does speak to the limitation of television’s one-way communication.

Very enterprising and forward thinking work, no? What do you think? (Joe, u2!) No doubt there are other examples that I’d love to hear about from you. And let me know your feedback on JTC or just this post on JTC.

Information Revolution or Evolution – Michael Wesch Kansas State University

Information R/evolution - New CategoriesInformation R/evolution.

The Age of Information is in revolution or just evolution? That is the question behind this entrancing, 5’28 film by Michael Wesch (Assistant Professor at Kansas State University), posted on YouTube on October 13th. This is bound to be a film that will circulate well. It presents the explosion of words, links, tags and information and suggests that the principle of categories is outdated. The film starts out a little tentatively, though, saying meekly that “information is a thing“…. without differentiating between data, information and knowledge. Certainly, the concept of information is evolving and our ability to classify and relocate information is having to evolve. Information R/evolution.

Wesch pours out a number of current facts including the existence of 500 billion links and 5 trillion words on the web today. Two statements that caught my attention: “ontology is overrated“. Try digging that! Among the interesting pieces out there on the subject, at the centre is Clay Shirky’s piece. And the other striking phrase in Wesch’s video is “Everything is miscellaneous” (not good for the left brainers out there), reference to the David Weinberger book.

Turned onto this by Luis Suarez’s blog, Wesch produced another video on YouTube earlier in the year with a similar style and theme, this time with a focus more on the separation of content and form via the XML language; a database-backed web. Worth the visit too: Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us.

Others blogging on Wesch:
From NZ, ICT U Can
Sharepoint Holmes from Belgium
Mitch Joel from Montreal Canada (thanks to his Twittering I am HERE!)

Word consumption & the power of silence

Word Consumption & Power of SilenceWe consume words with our most precious resource: time. As such, we should be extremely watchful in its expenditure. Are you not tired of the deluge of words that gush out of some people’s mouths? Between formalities, small talk and thoughtlessness, a day can be spent in the total absence of substance. And on the Internet, content is far too often missing (or interactive) as well. There is email spam, hybrid spam in the form of forwarded messages/jokes, or just plain mails, empty of content (hi dude!). Twitter is mostly spam on dope.

Next are vapid blogs. Limited original content or personal diaries that don’t interest people beyond intimate friends and family (and even then…). You can search “went to see my shrink today” and score many 11 hits on blogs. Then comes Facebook. What or who is a “real” friend? The one that sends you vampire hugs and pokes or the one that doesn’t (and sends meaningful messages in lieu). I love parts of Facebook for getting me in touch with some old friends. But the proliferation of meaningless applications feels, but a worthwhile read on Facebook), scarily like spam. And I will only mention in passing the dry, uninteractive brand sites that are eye sores, crammed with one-way unauthentic information.

Given the chatter without content, sometimes silence is most welcome. Silence can say so much (like a post without comments?). The pregnant pause. The masterful stare. The whir of the wind. The density of thought. When will ESP hit the web?

Search engines and community based bookmarking and tagging services (such as del.ic.ious, digg it, etc.) are getting there, helping to refine the choice. But there is still a long way to go. Too little time and too much crud.

On another ‘note’, there is the regular, if not annoying, buzz and interruption of cell phones. Aside from the revealing or funny ring tone, the ring of the cell phone haunts our daily lives. The silence is invaded by cell phones ringing throughout presentations or killing the tension at a dramatic play…. I have come to appreciate the mute button on the cell phone. The silencing of a cell phone is sort of like a cell phone’s emasculation. Speaking of incoming calls, I am not a big fan of calls marked “private number.” While there are a few understandable instances, I tend not to reply to “private” numbers. Another way to keep me (and my cell phone) silent.

As I reflect further, without silence, one cannot listen. Without listening, there can be no peace (and if you listen to Nerd CEO, you will see the strength of silence in negotiation). And perhaps one could argue that there is no content without listening? If there is so little content, then maybe we should re-program ourselves to listen to silence. Everyday, I will dedicate ten minutes to being eyes shut, listening to the silence. My adaptation of yoga, I suppose. What about you?

Haven’t read Joseph Jaffe’s soon-to-be-released “Join the Conversation.” Here is how Joe’s book began… JTC Wiki… Due out Oct 21st you can pre-order on Amazon.com. But, clearly, IT is all about the Conversation, that which is meaningful. And for good measure, I add a blog entitled Join the Conversation that adds to the same conversation.

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This post was inspired after a little world-spanning chat with my true friend Alex. Thank you.

When a blog becomes institutional

iblog doesn’t stand for institutional blog

I have been a fan of the freakonomics blog for quite some time — a testament to the power of a good book (now available for $17 on amazon, down from $28 list price!) going on line per se. However, the very notion of a blog is up for grabs at this point as this lunch over ip article points out. Freakonomics is an institutional blog, an anathema to blogging as considered in the blogging world of the [recent] past.

The evolution of blogging

Now that we have more than 70 million blogs (per techorati), it may well be time to add some marketing muscle to the very term of a blog (beyond splog). As Bruno Giussani points out, the blog concept is migrating and, with it, the ways of communicating. Blogging is even entering into an evil phase as this IHT article points out. Incentive enough to make sure that I have a comment policy (see below).

I take note of Joe Jaffe experimenting with the interface of his jaffe juice blog, facebook, twitter, itunes podcasting, and potentially so many more (netvibes, bloglines, myspace, linkedin, plaxo. flickr…). Same idea over at Twist Image, with Mitch Joel, where we are looking at ways to concentrate the multiple [social] media avenues to grow your on-line community. And it’s true that agglomeration is the new buzz word which is going to be a major part of the near-term evolution of the net, not just blogging. The web has cast a wide reach with a whole host of new opportunities, but managing the tangle of [even one’s own] links and gaining critical mass will be the name of the game in the future. By the way, I do love the new Google blog search which is helping to clear up the confounded blog search.

Anyway, as far as blogs are concerned, we might consider creating subcategories of blogs. I propose that we create a new list of definitions for what we have broadly been calling blogs. That list could go something like this:

  • persoblog for those personal life blogs, shortened to plog
  • communiblog for community blogs, shortened to cubelog polyblog for multiple author blogs, polyblog (like it as is)
  • musiclog for the music aficionado, mclog
  • marklog for marketing blogs, as is
  • medialog (aside from the issue of the company of the name), for news blogs
  • shoplog for shopping addicts, as is
  • institulog for institutional blogs (ban the idea!), i-blog (perish the thought twisted)

and final idea (for today that is):

  • noblog for not only bullshit logs…

The question will become: who is capable of setting the pace and giving these names? Us, the community of bloggers… but that’s a whole of people to galvanize. Probably will need the New York Times or Herald Tribune to pick up a piece like this one and then, kapow, it’s off to the races.