#SGSGlobal An essential hashtag

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Social Good Summit? (#SGSGlobal) Sounds a bit ominous but, in fact, so simple, down to earth, and real.

The question underlying this event is “Can social media really make a difference in change for the good?” It can indeed but only if we don’t forget that behind the technology are people. On the other hand, the omnipresence of the cell phone reminds us that technology is a very valuable tool.

Think about it. Suppose you want to increase the concern for women and girls around the globe and could wake up a million minds with a text message? Maybe it is important to you that so much food goes to waste when children are starving around the world and a simple tweet could alert thousands who would help? What if your very own Web page, updated maybe only once a week, could start a widespread movement because when the Internet user “googles” a keyword you use they find your site and respond to your concern?

Seems obvious right? Well, the problem might be that silly Instagram photos taken of yourself with a smartphone in a mirror or unending cat videos on You Tube distract us from the possibilities. For this weekend some of us are rethinking the value of this futuristic technology. Join the program:

When are you going to get a real job?

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One of my Facebook friends, whom I knew long before the Internet, responded to my new job as a school bus driver with “Now I know you are old.” Very funny. Ha Ha. She should watch me doing pushups.

It did start me thinking about our perception of people in certain jobs. There is not much doubt that all of us stereotype at least some of the time. We talk about “ditch diggers” or “garbage collectors” as if those jobs, however they are defined, are the lowest of the low. I wonder though.

One time many years ago, I showed up at a Galveston, Texas temporary labor office only to be sent to be a small Gulf oil rig tender as a deck-man while the boat was in harbor. It was described as a job in which “you must be willing to do what average and ordinary people are not willing to do.” That was an understatement. Picture a typical high school boy’s bedroom and multiply that by 50 or so bunked in one section and add the large shower area. Then just imagine a tornado going through just before you walk in to clean.

The obvious point is that real people actually do this kind of stuff.¬†Mike Rowe¬†does many of them on the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” and it is clear that he is always relieved that each particular episode is finished. Even if we who sit in air conditioned offices or jet from city-to-city in our vocations think we are not that bad off, what in the world would do without those workers?

One of my fellow school bus drivers admitted that his family bugged him all the time to get a “real” job. I wonder if any of them were a parent standing with their kindergarten girl or boy, entrusting that child to to the driver on the yellow bus, would they dare say it was not a significant role in the life of the young people.

I really don’t mind my friends making fun of me. I give it back in spades. Meanwhile, next time you see a person in a job that you think is probably beneath you, remember, first of all, that is a real person at work and, secondly, who would do it for you if they didn’t?

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