This Saturday, Tony and I are getting married. At the beginning of the ceremony, around 3pm CT, we plan to consciously emit photons.
We discovered the idea of thinking of our photons through a video about how big a person can get. The video starts with the physical constraints of the height of a human, but it doesn’t stop there. The beautiful conclusion is that each of us humans emits tiny particles of light, and each of those photons has the potential to travel forever into the universe. And so we are, at least in this way, endless.
As we officially begin to honor our marriage, though we will only be a group of ten humans standing close to one another, know that we’ll be thinking of all our friends and family, including you.
We’d be honored, if you are moved, for you to take a moment on April 16 to think of us, too, and maybe emit some photons.
When I created my account, Wikipedia was a source of information that was nerdy-cool, but definitely not considered reliable. By the time I received that email from our aunt, Wikipedia had become omnipresent.
Although the folks I know still give verbal disclaimers when repeating something they learned on Wikipedia, if there is a Wikipedia article in their Google search results, they will read it.
And so do I
In those six years, my perspective has changed, too. The world isn’t quite how I’d been told it would be. Not only does the world not embrace people like me the way I was told it would, but it it is even more harsh on people who have less than I do.
You know what, world? That sucks. And I want it to change.
Quietly improving the world’s awareness of itself
Wikipedia is a free, open place for information. Anyone with access to the Internet can become an editor.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest in editing Wikipedia.
At this point, though, I imagine you might feel the way I did eight years ago. I didn’t feel like I was an expert in anything, and I didn’t particularly want to be a guardian of grammar. How could I improve Wikipedia?
The good news is this: I’ve been discovering all kinds of ways to improve Wikipedia, and I expect I’ll write about some of my favorites. All you’ll need is your curiosity and the Internet.
A question that I haven’t investigated enough yet is how speakers decide to be speakers. It’s peaked my curiosity in part because I have a theory about what inspires different people to share in this way.
One thing I do know is how I started speaking. It was a combination of two things:
Having a topic too good to pass up.
Someone telling me that I should do it.
The topic was doing research in Rwanda. Presenting about that work lead to my job at EightShapes, which lead to my job at NPR.
The someone, meanwhile, was actually a series of someones.
First, Jimmy Chandler encouraged me. I had told him about the work I had done in Rwanda, and he pointed out how unique it was. Jimmy told Dan Willis about how he was encouraging me, and then Jimmy told me that Dan said I should do it. At that point, only knowing of Dan, I felt like, well, if the famous Dan Willis says I should do it, I guess I should!
And then, finally, Tony Pitale helped me work on my presentation and be assertive enough to snag a spot at UXCamp DC. He gave me the advice (“remember that the audience wants you to succeed”) and review (about what made sense and what didn’t) that got me from deciding to present to actually doing it.
Of course, the work itself was my own. My input inspired getting the work approved, I did the work, and then I thought about it carefully enough to make what I learned useful to other people. The presentation and what I got from it was my success. But the concept that I could do a presentation—that was very much fueled by Jimmy, Dan, and Tony.
If it hadn’t been for these three folks directly encouraging me to present on my work in Rwanda, my career would have been very different.
My Challenge to You
What kind of voices do you wish were better heard in our community? Who do you know who is doing awesome work?
“People will yell at you.” Yep, that’s one of the things we were told comes with the role of co-chair for IA Summit. We were advised that the best way to handle it was to band together, find the strength in our team, and try not to take it too personally.
Though we appreciated the warning and the advice, I wasn’t sure that building a defense was the only solution. Avoiding yelling seemed more desirable.