Michelle Sullivan Communications

These are a few of my favourite things

The other day, someone asked me to name my favourite blog. The only thing hard about that question is where to start … or maybe where to stop. I have as many favourites as I have interests.

Dear Photograph is an absolute gem. I love visiting it for its poignancy and sense of history.

With a google reader filled with social media marketing and PR blogs, it’s nice to take a breather and remember that the social web is as beautifully diverse and complex as the individuals who occupy the space.

When’s the last time you visited a blog for pleasure? Or blogged your passion (and I’m not talking about your passion for social media)

500th blog post: on Jack Layton-inspired « mono no aware » in the age of social media

This is my 500th blog post. I’d been saving it for something special : an article about the change in direction this blog will be taking, including the unveiling of  my newest project. But that can wait. Right now, I’d rather dedicate this personal landmark to Jack Layton.

In Japan, the term aware (pron. a-wa-ray) speaks to a reverence for the « transient beauty and mortality of all things ». Mono no aware is often translated as « the ‘ahh-ness’ of things », life, and love. Awareness of the transience of all things heightens appreciation of their beauty, and evokes a gentle sadness at their passing.

And so it is for me, with Jack. A time to reflect upon the contribution of a great Canadian. «Ce bon Jack» as we say in Quebec, when talking about Jack Layton. And he carried his name well.

In the hours following news of his passing, my mother compared Jack Layton to my father. That’s the highest of compliments .. to Mr. Layton. But she was right. Both were honest, compassionate men of integrity whose true « religion » was love for their fellow man. The outpouring of affection for Jack from Canadians and the urge felt from coast to coast to mourn collectively is deeply touching. When we mourned my father, we were comforted by words of kindness and shared memories from family, friends and acquaintances about the man we’d loved and had lost.  Eleven years later, the passing of a much more public figure shows how far technology and the Internet have brought us in our ability to grieve collectively.

And all these online spaces and social networking sites allowed me and thousands of others to share our thoughts about Jack’s passing and legacy with one another in real time.

My father passed away in September of 2000 and friends and family from across Canada and as far away as Ireland gathered for the interment of his ashes a month later. Not being there to receive the condolences of our community in the days following his death was a difficult thing for those who were far away in those first weeks. It is a key stage in the grieving process. Eleven years later, it is clear that developments in technology in general, and of social networking in particular, make physical distance almost inconsequential. We can come together to comfort one another in our grief, and we can collectively share in those all important rituals that accompany death, as they happen.

The social media space is composed of tribes. Tribes with common interests, overcoming physical distances to come together in sharing. Since Jack Layton left us on Monday, Canadians have been gathering online as a tribe of millions, to pay tribute to one of their own, and to comfort one another in their collective grief.

Who said technology alienates us from one another?

Now if you’ll excuse me, now that Jack’s funeral is over I’m going to turn off my laptop and grab my bike for a ride through the Laurentian woods. Time to reflect and quietly pay tribute to this great Canadian.

RIP Jack. You will be sorely missed.

And give my love to my Dad for me. He’ll be the guy welcoming you to the eternal-club-of-good-guys with a golf bag on his shoulder and a warm smile, hand outstretched.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.
Arundhati Roy as quoted by Stephen Lewis, during his eulogy for Jack Layton

KD Lang sings Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic

Croire de Martin Deschamps

Lorraine Segato sings Rise Up

The Youngbloods – Get Together

MAJ: Footage from the various ceremonies, including musical tributes, have been circulating online since Jack Layton’s death. Below, I’ve updated the musical list presented above with footage from the funeral ceremony, hosted on YouTube.

Steven Page sings Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Richard Underhill plays Van Morrisson’s Into the Mystic

Croire de Martin Deschamps

Lorraine Segato sings Rise Up

Tweeting on election day: the rights of the individual vs the rights of the community

Elections Canada has issued a warning: it is forbidden to divulge election results before all polling stations have closed in Western Canada. Those who break this law are subject to a $25 000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. The 1938 law was aimed at traditional media, and can seem anachronistic in the age of social media. A number of Twitter users are mobilizing to defy the restriction.

Let’s calm down a little. It’s not because one CAN do something that one SHOULD do it. How about hitting pause on this self-centered age we live in, to think about this a minute. Around the world, in Libya, in Egypt, in Iran, in Tunisia, in Irak, in Afghanistan, people are killing one another in pro-democratic movements.

And what do we do? We get indignant when faced with a law that seeks to protect our democracy and we gear up to defy it on Twitter. To what end?

Yes, the law should be changed to better reflect our new communicational reality. No, we should not sacrifice democracy on the altar of Twitter. Let’s respect our democratic institutions and the right of Western Canadians to express themselves through the vote, free of all external influence.

Bottom line? Grow up.

On election day, until the last polls close in all electoral districts, the Canada Elections Act prohibits the dissemination of:

election advertising

results of election opinion surveys not previously released

election results from other electoral districts

Note to my readers: For the first time since launching this blog over 4 years ago, I’m translating a post. The challenge of having a bilingual blog is that you know that no post can be read by 100% of the people who follow you. I chose a bilingual blog format because I wanted to engage with two communities. It happened that those communities were separated by language. A bilingual blog is a truly Canadian compromise to a truly Canadian dilemna. The problem is that, this time, I want to be read by both anglo and franco Canadians. For those of you who master the language of Molière as well as the language of Shakespeare, my apologies for the redundancy.

Tweeter le jour des élections: les droits de l’individu vs ceux de la collectivité

Élections Canada lance une mise en garde: il est interdit de divulguer les résultats des élections avant la fermeture du dernier bureau de scutin dans l’Ouest canadien. Les contrevenants sont passibles d’une amende de 25 000$ ou jusqu’à 5 ans d’emprisonnement. La loi, passée en 1938, visait les médias traditionnelles et peut sembler anacronistique à l’ère des médias sociaux. Nombreux utilisateurs de Twitter se mobilisent pour défier l’interdiction.

Du calme. Ce n’est pas parce qu’on PEUT faire quelque chose qu’on DEVRAIT le faire. Cessons un instant ce nombrilisme collectif qui caractérise trop bien notre époque moderne, pour réfléchir un peu. Partout dans le monde, en Libye, en Egypte, en Iran, en Tunisie, en Irak, en Afghanistan, la population s’entretue dans des luttes pro-démocratiques.

Et nous? On s’indigne face à une loi qui vise à protéger la démocratie et on se prépare à la défier sur Twitter. À quelle fin au juste?

Oui, la loi devrait être changée pour mieux refléter notre nouvelle réalité communicationnelle. Non, on ne devrait pas sacrifier la démocratie sur l’autel de Twitter. Respectons nos institutions démocratiques et le droit de nos concitoyens dans l’Ouest de s’exprimer par la voie électorale, libres de toute influence externe.

Comme ils disent en anglais, Grow Up.

Jusqu’à la fermeture des derniers bureaux de scrutin dans toutes les circonscriptions le jour de l’élection, la Loi électorale du Canada y interdit la diffusion :

de publicité électorale;

des résultats de sondages électoraux non publiés auparavant;

des résultats du vote dans d’autres circonscriptions.

Tim Hetherington: RIP

Tim Hetherington's last tweet