2013 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy New Year to all!

See you out there

Andy

@canayjun on Twitter

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Using Social Media to Find a Better Job – Continued

or, People Say the Nicest Things Department – Part III

Andy is an unsung hero in our community…. His selflessness, compassion and commitment to his outreach work are truly inspirational… Andy is a man of great character with incredible passion for social justice… Andy successfully inspired broad spectrum community participation… He brings many years of experience and knowledge to any organization…

Some of you have been following my ongoing (and going and going) job search efforts over on Twitter and LinkedIn et al. I’m searching for a career with a non-profit engaged in homeless services and helping to end homelessness. I’ve been making a concerted effort to improve the usual round of submitting resumes and cover letters to promising organizations, by using the various social networks and apps that I have access to.

Here’s the latest via YouTube, LinkedIn and GoogleDocs. LinkedIn has a nice feature that let’s you embed various applications to deliver multimedia content right on your LinkedIn profile – in this case I’ve used their Google Docs app to add a presentation with an embedded Youtube video.

Check out the video – see me and my colleagues at work:

The video was produced with the help of TurnHere.com while I was the Community Development Coordinator for Project417 and I highly recommend the TurnHere service for anyone, non-profit or private business alike, to jump into video marketing for your cause or company. TurnHere’s customer service was superb and the videographer was the best. We filmed out on the streets of Toronto (at Yonge Dundas Square), because that is where the outreach to people experiencing homelessness takes place year round.

Over on my LinkedIn profile you see the video embedded in a Google Docs presentation which includes a second page with all kinds of good info for organizations that will be falling all over themselves to hire me. Anyway, that’s the plan…

You can reach me on Twitter @canayjun and sharing the link to this blog post on Twitter Google+, Facebook and others would be a big boost to my networking efforts and much appreciated.

::

The Value of a LinkedIn Recommendation – Social Media

or People Say the Nicest Things Department – Part II

Some of you have been following my recent job search efforts over on Twitter and Facebook et al. You can connect with me at Twitter.com/canayjun I’ve been making a concerted effort to improve the usual round of submitting resumes and cover letters to promising organizations, by using the various social networks and apps that I have access to. I figure that plain old networking has changed drastically in the last seven years (the last time I looked for a job) and realized that I’d built an effective  web of online social connections that should be put to work.

The Geocities logo of mission_log project417

In addition to 3,000+ Twitter followers, I’ve kept this WordPress blog up and it’s had more than fifty thousand page views since inception – and it is actually a continuation of my first blog over on the now departed Geocities Mission_log – where my first post was in 2004.  There’s also “a canayjun point of view” over on Blogger at http://canayjun.blogspot.com with more than fifteen thousand views. Just for fun I have also published a couple of other blogs, which I should really make more use of:  Restaurant at the End of the Internet, an End of the Internet and more. In addition to Facebook, (reserved for IRL friends and family) you can find me on Flickr, Google, YouTube,  Box.net and LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, I’ve been working on my professional profile and work history and was pleased to reach the point where it’s 100% completed, although there is still quite a bit of job history to add.  As I blogged last week, I’ve been using the LinkedIn feature to request recommendations from co-workers, colleagues and friends that are pertinent to my current job search. I’ve been bowled over by the response and humbled by the comments.  Just yesterday I received a recommendation from a former co-worker, Fred Chu, who works at Lucasfilm now as their Senior Texture Artist & Look Development. Fred was a huge help when he was in Toronto, assisting us with the Project417 outreach to the homeless – dependable, compassionate and someone who could be relied upon to be available and take the lead when we were short handed. here’s his recommendation in full:

Andy is a man of great character with incredible passion for social justice balanced by an equally wonderful soft spot for people in need. His commitment to his work was inspiring, his genuine heart for people was endearing and his easy smile was simply contagious. And regardless of how difficult & heart-breaking the work was, this man was always a beacon of positivity. I was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him. Thank you for letting me tag along for the ride!” June 21, 2011

Cyril Frederick Chu, Matte Painter/Texture Painter/VFX Artist, Mr. X Inc.
reported to Andy at Project417 – Ekklesia

Thank-you Fred.  An eloquent recommendation. Which brings me to the point – just how valuable are recommendations on LinkedIn? In respect to my immediate job search that remains to be seen.  As you can gather from my LinkedIn profile, I’m currently seeking a position with a non-profit / charity organization that addresses the issue of homelessness. I think the recommendations offer a personal glimpse into the depths of my experience and the breadth of all I have to offer to many an organization. Unlike Workopolis or Monster.com and similar job search sites, I think LinkedIn has a formula here that truly exploits our comfort with social media that can impact our career choices positively. What do you think?

A team of dedicated volunteers

I don’t know about you, but if I was responsible for hiring a manager or director of a progressive homelessness service organization and read these recommendations, I’d sure want to talk to me. Come back and visit soon, I’ll be blogging about other ways I’m trying to use Twitter and the rest and we’ll see how it all turns out.

::

Toronto Helps – More volunteers help with sandwich runs to the homeless

Numbers of new volunteers increase at Project417 grassroots program for Toronto’s homeless – Thanks to Social Networking , Blogging and Search Engine Optimization:

2009 has been an exciting year here at Project417. We’ve seen a marked increase in the number of local Toronto volunteers willing to come out and help us on our sandwich runs to the homeless

A sandwich run is simply volunteers delivering nutritious bag lunches to homeless street people by walking well traveled routes in the downtown Toronto area where street involved people live. It is a relational outreach – a grassroots community building activity – in addition to delivering a meal to a hungry person, hopefully friendly conversations take place and bridges of trust strengthened.

Volunteers handing out bag lunches

Volunteers handing out bag lunches

Project417’s volunteer ranks have been swelled this year by caring people from all walks of life, from young teens to working adults – bank executives, health care professionals, singles clubs like Meet Market Adventures, whole families and even the cast of Toronto’s smash hit “We Will Rock You”. This past year we have hosted more than two thousand volunteers. Most of these new volunteers found out about us through search engines like Google. If you follow that Google link you’ll see that Project417’s sandwich runs are ranked first and three other results relate to our sandwich runs to the homeless.  Even Microsoft’s brand new offering Bing -which replaces their MSN Live search – ranks the MissionLog right here first and five or six other Project417 results including volunteer videos on Facebook.

I’ve worked hard over the last few years to improve our search results so that Project417 can more easily connect with volunteers, because, in the end, the beneficiaries are Toronto’s homeless and under-housed. We can’t afford professional SEO services or IT  Web 2.0 and 3.0 consulting, so all of this sucess has been home grown sweat equity. By far the biggest success has been WordPress.com – where you’re reading this blog right now – the MissionLog or missionlog.wordpress.com – WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms. It’s free and the blogs don’t carry any advertising. It is easy to use and set up your own blog, but has powerful options like tagging, gadgets, video and topical categories that really help  optimize your search engine ranking. There are a host of other online tools I’ve used to promote this blog and the Project417 official website and I’ve listed some of them at the end of this post.

Here at Project417, we’ve been facilitating sandwich runs for almost twenty years – our Director, Joe Elkerton first started going out to visit the homeless in the late eighties with a handful of college friends when reports of deaths among the homeless outside on the streets first surfaced in the news. This was before government sponsored programs like StreetHelp and Streets to Homes. The main focus of the program is not simply delivering food to hungry street people. The key factor is communication through conversations with our friends on the street. We don’t try to be experts or counselors, rather we try to help our volunteers – ordinary people – engage with the homeless. This is true community demonstrated by the caring act of delivering a meal.

Anyone can volunteer with us by invitation by emailing volunteer@project417.com – After taking part in our orientation presented by experienced team leaders the night of the sandwich run we head out on the streets for two or three hours. Find out how truly liberating this volunteer experience can be – to step outside your personal comfort zone and meet our homeless friends on their own grounds.

You can help get the word out online – visit any of the following links and share them in your blog or on facebook, or post them on Digg or Reddit. There’s lots of photos and even video of our volunteer experience.

Project417 Sandwich Run to the Homeless

TOStreets – another blog on Windows Live Spaces

TOstreets on MySpace – the MySpace page

Project417 – The Facebook page – become a fan

Canada News Blog – a more general blog by Canayjun (moi)

Hogtown Prophets – Listening to prophetic voices from the street

And some of these great link sharing sites –

Twine.com – visit Homeless on twine

Technorati – Homeless blog search by Outreach417

Twitter – follow @canayjun on Twitter

Delicious.com – Outreach417’s bookmarks – hundreds!

[I’ll post more here soon]

50 Reasons to Leave Facebook

From a recent Facebook Note –

Facebook Note

In no particular order:
(like, you really need 50 reasons?)
1. You have better things to do, no really.
2. Have you ever actually read the Facebook Terms & Conditions?
3. See number 50
4. It spawns spam – it is spam spawning.
5. Facebook mines your personal data and relationship information to sell to advertisers.
6. You’re already a member of other social networking sites like StumbleUpon, or Myspace, or Spaces, or Digg, or etc etc

19. You spend more time on Facebook than you do actually with your friends in person.

22. Twitter…

For all fifty reasons, especially #49 and 50, click read more or Digg it up.

read more | digg story

The reason an article on leaving Facebook would appear on this site, which is normally devoted to volunteerism, activism and homelessness issues – is that Facebook wants our business.  Recent Facebook developments and upgrades have concerned many Facebook users, and forced them to realize they are not Facebook “customers”, merely data sources to be mined on behalf of real Facebook customers: businesses, organizations and advertisers. Project417 does have a Facebook page – and it has been a frustrating experience, for a charitable, non-profit to navigate and configure exactly what that Facebook “Page” is supposed to accomplish or leverage from the 175 million plus Facebook users.

To really find out, I suppose, would mean spending money, i.e. paying the Facebook gurus to improve our exposure – which rankles because we’d rather spend money helping the homeless. Our Facebook page has 47 fans (out of 198 friends and countless friends of friends and the Facebook Networks it appears in). While this WordPress blog – missionlog.wordpress.com – has had more than 15,000 views since inception – AND WordPress.com has a no banner advertising policy. The Missionlog blog turns up frequently in search engine results from Google and the rest and regularly gets referrals from StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit to name a few. That is visibility for our cause – it has been a real benefit to the poor and homeless we help, even contributing in a real way to recent relief efforts in Texas following Hurricane Ike. The pre-Christmas volunteer team that was such a big help down there found Project417 on WordPress, right here.

So for Project417’s humanitarian cause, social applications like the WordPress blogosphere, and others like Blogger, iGoogle, Youtube, MySpace, Spaces, Flickr Photos, Picasa Web Photos, Twitter and many others, have only helped and are generally very easy to configure and begin sharing with friends and supporters. Not to say that their focus is not on generating profit, of course they are businesses too, but they have arrived at successful business models by focusing on users first, and letting the resultant traffic drive their growth. Facebook’s business model however, seems to have morphed into the tail wagging the dog – a frantic search for the most money-making interface at the expense of users.

As a user – it was fun on Facebook for a while, connecting with friends, updating the status, writing on walls, tagging photos. But did Facebook make friends for me? Of course not, they all came from my existing (multiple) email address books. The Facebook “friend finder” might have added two or three people to my contact list (by mining friends of friends), but then those connections probably would have been made at any of the other existing social network sites, or by the tried and true email forwarding method. But of course then things changed. The new facebook look and feel. Questions about the terms and conditions and ownership of content – all issues stemming from Facebook’s yearning to evolve from a Harvard University bulletin board and high-school messaging service into a scion of business profitability.

So is Facebook enriching my friendships? Or infringing on time spent valuably with people in person? Will leaving Facebook, lose me friends? Of course not. Will I be out of touch because I’m not logged into facebook? – I think not.

Will the joke be on Facebook when people leave Facebook and delete their profiles? I trust they see the humor – maybe it will spur a change.. You can make it happen. Share this blog on your Facebook profile. Digg it up! Post it on Reddit. Blog it here at WordPress,  forward an email to everyone in your address book –

Click here - it doesn't do anything.

Click here - it doesn't do anything.

Leadership vs. Teamwork

Grunt work - getting your hands dirty.Sunday is a great day to reflect and, if you’re lucky, to be inspired. I got lucky yesterday and heard a great message by our Pastor, Joe Elkerton, at the Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship. It was on leadership.

It made me think how our society is so focused on “leadership” but seems to forget what really makes things work – service. Everyone wants to be a great leader but we’ve all forgotten how to get any real work done. Who does the grunt work? Who gets their hands dirty?

A quick search on Google turns up 185 million results for leadership and only 22.5 million for teamwork. (less than 5% of the sites dealing with teamwork were related to the church or Christianity) How are we getting any work done? Well, the answer is simple – We’re not. As a society we have a fixation with celebrity and stardom. Not just in sports and entertainment, but in politics, government, business and public works. We think it is great leaders who accomplish great works. I don’t think this is exclusively a characteristic of Western society but it seems to have been taken to the extreme here in North America.

Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message”. (Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1964) Basically that the media influence and even overshadow the messages or information being delivered to us. Those media have changed drastically since McLuhan coined the phrase. Not just print, radio, film or television, now the internet and video hold the place of preeminence with a host of new delivery technologies – on-demand, podcasts, mobile messaging, streaming video, HD-DVD, HDTV, MP3, iTunes, P2P, satellite, Twitter,  Facebook. A raging torrent of information roars to capture our attention and the primary means the agents of delivery utilize to achieve this is still that old Hollywood magic act – the “Star”.

In 1968 artist Andy Warhol said, ” In the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes” which has morphed into our idea of 15 seconds of fame. Warhol was reading the pulse of evolving media delivery and how it shaped society around us. It is mirrored in U.S. presidential races. We’ve just seen the Obama – Clinton parade go by for the democratic nomination and now we will witness the the most stupendous circus act of all – Who will be the next president of the United States? Barack Obama or John McCain? All of the world shaping issues that affect the daily lives of every person on the planet will be distilled down to into some live streaming version of American Idol. I wouldn’t be suprised to see some future election decided by voters texting their choice to a five digit number from their cellphone.

This is leadership miscontrued. The personal glorification raised above the interests of the public good. And we all want it for ourselves. We want to be leaders, we want to be stars, we want to be famous, if only for fifteen minutes. As a matter of fact, we want this so much that many of us choose infamy rather than obscurity. Ask any corporate public relations person and they’ll tell you “even bad press is good publicity”.

In the workplace, in school, in the public shere, we all want to lead (or think we should). Very few are willing to serve and follow. The church is not immune. Perhaps it is even more susceptible to the star making machinery. Witness the excesses visited upon Christians everywhere hungry to cozy up to the next prophet, looking for their share of the fame. How many churches hold leadership seminars?

No really great leader in the bible asked for the job. Rather they were called from positions of service. As a matter fo fact, like Moses or Jonah, they tried to decline the calling.  We need to do the same. Rather than seeking for opportunities to use our skills to lead others, we need to seek opportunites to serve. We need to get our hands dirty, even when there’s no one recording the moment on camera to post photos on Facebook. Pick up the garbage, sweep out the corners, carry the burden, bind the wounds, offer the cool drink of water. Join the team. It already has a captain, coach and superstar – Jesus Christ.

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