December 11, 2014

  • Communication is a Dialogue

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    Our need as a species to communicate is within our genetics.

    We all want, and desire, to be heard and to be understood.  In short, we want to be accepted.

    But while many people are talking and yelling, other folks are thinking of what to say.

    This begs the question - is anyone really listening?

    I remember as a child my parents telling me that there is a big difference between hearing someone, and listening to someone.

    Hearing is equated to a sound, in that anyone can say, "I hear you.".

    But listening requires comprehension and understanding.... it requires effort.

    There's been a lot going on with Autisable, and one of the aspects of working on a site that reaches out and helps the Autism community - is to ensure that the site has a consistent message that is relatable.   This can always prove a challenge to any business or organization that tries to serve its respective demographic.

    The Autism community is as diverse in its opinions and efforts as the spectrum itself.    This diversity is both its strength, and it's weakness.
    First, it crosses many standard demographics - it's not just a racial issue, nor is it a specific age issue.   It affects a broad range of people - from Parents, to Grandparents, to Siblings... and most of all - to those who are on the spectrum.

    The goal is to find commonalities - and to make sure that all aspects of the community have the opportunity to be heard.

    People need to be at least heard, but it's up to us to actually Listen - as individuals, as a community, and as a business/organization.

    To ensure that Autisable is on target with its efforts, there are regular phone calls and e-mails with all aspects of the community.   This effort is to make sure that we understand what the community at large is wanting, and needing.    At times the autism community is at odds with itself, and this division has hindered the progress of the message of the community being heard.

    Having input from all aspects of the Autism community is key to making sure Autisable remains a respectable vision.  This means listening not only to those that the public regularly sees and hears, but also to those who aren't or don't have the opportunity to be seen and/or heard.

    But it's not just Autisable that has had this challenge to remain relatable in terms of communication and message, the same can be said for Xanga.

    Allow me for a moment to share....

    For those that have been a part of Xanga for the past several years know and wonder if your voice is being heard, and if The Xanga Team is even listening.
    As a liaison, my purpose is to ensure that the Team has the requests and suggestions (and complaints) that the community has - and do what I can to let you know that they have heard it.

    I can only encourage everyone that your frustration, your hope, and your suggestions and complaints have been heard... and that the Team has been listening.   It's up now to the Team to communicate that they have not only heard what you've asked me to pass along, but that they have been listening.

    Communication is a dialogue - and that dialogue requires all parties involved to listen to one another.

    Social media allows us to share our thoughts and ideas at a moment, a split second.   But it also reminds us that in order to be social, we must not only share our ideas, but we must be willing to hear and listen to other people's thoughts and ideas openly and without judgement.

    Perspectives always differ, and listening to other people's perspective is like having a mirror before you... sometimes you may like what you see, and other times you may not.

    There's always another thought, another idea... let's keep the dialogue going.

November 20, 2014

  • Home For Sale - Suffolk, VA

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    For those that don't know - my Mom passed away on Mother's Day this year, after a year long battle with Brain Cancer.

    She had a rental home in Suffolk, VA that as of earlier this week has been placed on the Market.

    Here's the listing on Zillow.com - http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/307-Loblolly-Ct-Suffolk-VA-23435/79290441_zpid/

    It's a good home, well built.

    So - if you are planning on moving to the Norfolk, VA area - and want a quiet neighborhood that's 5 minutes from the interstate... consider this home.

    Please feel free to share this post or the zillow.com listing anywhere.

     

     

     

     

     

November 13, 2014

  • Easy to Be Critical - But are you willing to do the work?

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    <beginning of rant>

    Being a part of the workforce has taught me many things over the years, one of which is something I learned early in my career.

    It's easy to be critical of what may be going on in an organization.  Usually that criticism stems from past experience, and at it's core - is a good thing.

    However, I learned early on that when you shine the light on a problem - be sure that you are offering a solution, and are willing to put your hands to make that solution happen.  Otherwise, you are just an arm chair Quarterback yelling at the TV when the team isn't doing what it's supposed to do.   You provide insight, yet you lack the fortitude to actually put work to your suggestions.  In short, you become nothing but a complainer when you aren't willing to help resolve the problem.

    I share this because there's been a lot of criticism about Xanga, and I've been more than willing to listen to anyone's issues and pass them along to John and the Xanga team.   My role here is to facilitate communication so we can move forward.

    I've reached out to those who have been highly critical of Xanga's efforts this past year - asking them if they'd be interested in actually helping out to resolve some of these issues.  After all, even the Xanga team is ready to bring about teams of people to help bring Xanga to the next level.   John shared just as much in many of his blog posts.   I've stepped up and am helping where I can, and am always encouraging others to do the same.

    But the responses from these highly critical people that I've received has been layered with more criticism - highlighting past mistakes - and that they want nothing to do with Xanga or the Team.   The irony here is that these are the same folks who still hang around, being even more critical of Xanga's efforts - yet they don't do anything to help as well.

    The option to help the community remains, and until these critical folks step up to actually assist - I'm sure we'll only read their blog posts on other sites voicing their criticism but never taking action.

    If anyone is interested in helping to bring Xanga to the next level - and actually put their talents in making Xanga better - then I am more than willing to work with you.  Even if you've been highly critical.    But just voicing an opinion and being critical and providing suggestions without actually having the will to do the work.... well....

    I can only invite you to sit on the couch and watch the game.   Scream all you want - we're getting the work done.    What are you doing?  Nothing.

    Ok... back to the grind....as I have actual work to do...

    <end of rant>

     

November 12, 2014

  • In Preparation

    If you haven't caught on by now - things have been rather busy.

    These past few weeks have been a bit rough - being sick, or taking care of a sick kid.

    But, back to the grind at getting Autisable relaunched and working on all the various aspects associated with Autisable's vision.

    Here's a few things of note at what is going on with Autisable at the moment:

    1. Preparing the site for it's relaunch.  We're working on a specific timeline, but don't expect Autisable to be like it once was.  The relaunch will show a very basic site as we get things back in order.  More about Autisable's website upgrades will be announced as we get closer to each part being launched.
    2. E-mail newsletters.  YES! we will be bringing about e-mails as a means to bring people more 'insider' news and information. Big kudos to LaNeshe for helping to organize our e-mail campaigns.  We're nearly ready to launch our first e-mail campaign. :)
    3. Giveaways!   I've already been sent many copies of several books that we will be giving away.  It's a small stock pile - and I'm really looking forward to mailing these out.  I can't wait to get things started!
    4. Advertisers!  YES!  we are already working very closely with the folks at Guardian Locate - a company that provides GPS tracking devices - which will help aid families track their loved ones who have a tendency to wander - thus saving lives.   We are always looking for new advertisers as well.   I'm currently testing out a couple of their GPS trackers and am already impressed.
    5. We are well on our way into developing a show for The Autism Channel.   We will be using segments of our show to help promote Autisable via social media outlets as well. :)

    There's many more things to share - and as we get closer to the inevitable launches - I'll make the necessary announcements.

    In Xanga news - John has been working on the long list of suggestions/recommendations that we submitted to him.   It was rather involved - and he also saw the priority of addressing mobile access.

    There were a few issues with the servers as well - as the site was down for a short period a couple of days ago due to heavy DDOS attacks.

    John is working on an update for the Xanga team blog.

    ok... back to the grind....looking forward to actually getting things DONE! :)

     

     

November 11, 2014

  • RE: @JerrySeinfeld and #autism - A Deeper Issue Resides in this Topic

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    It's been almost a week since Jerry Seinfeld shared that he 'may be somewhere on the Autism spectrum'.

    Since then, much of the Autism community at large is rather positive about him sharing his own revelation.

    Many Organizations are praising Mr. Seinfeld for his comments regarding himself and Autism, and hope that it may help remove the stigma associated with being on the spectrum.   Along with these organizations are rather respected and prominent individuals within the community - from other Adults with Autism, to Parents of Children who are on the spectrum.

    The challenge, however, is that there are those within the community who see Mr. Seinfeld's comments and 'coming out' as Autistic as a watering down of Autism.

    Some have even resorted to name-calling and have thus resorted to online bullying - calling Mr. Seinfeld a liar, awaiting his 'official diagnosis'.

    There is a sad sense of irony here - that the very people who demand respect and equality - aren't giving it themselves.

    There's a deeper issue within the community that goes beyond Mr. Seinfeld's self-diagnosis.   This issue is something that we all need to think about...

    For the past 6 years I've read online at least 30 Parents who have reached their emotional limit and have committed the most heinous act there is - that of killing their own children.

    We blame the Parents for not getting the help, the parents blame the system for not having services in place to help them with their child...

    But what does the community do?   We sit back - unable to look beyond our own selfish motives - and lay blame at the mother or father who kills their kid.

    Each article I've read echo's the same story where the parent is at their wits end - not knowing what to do.   They don't know where to reach out to get help, and if they did - they couldn't afford it - or couldn't identify where even to start.    Each article discusses friends and family who didn't have a clue... even friends within the community couldn't have seen it coming.

    But what does the community do?  We blame the parent, we blame the system....  we call these acts atrocious... but do nothing, and these horrendous things happen again ... and again...

    This deep issue resides within our own selfishness to protect our own children - forgetting that there are millions of children and adults who are going through the same thing.

    Each person with Autism has their own set of challenges and struggles - and Parents are just trying to hang on, fighting to get whatever services we can to help our children become the best that they can be.

    With Autism being a Spectrum disorder - this means that each individual has their own complicated set of issues that they have had to deal with their entire lives.

    Mr. Seinfeld may be on the spectrum, he may not... but he identifies with the markers, which seems to have helped him understand himself.

    Should we rebuke him as a community in the same way that our own children have been rebuked and chided for how they behave in public?

    Should we water down his self-diagnosis because it doesn't fit within the constraints of what our children are going through?

    If we do so, how would we be helping to spread Autism awareness and understanding?

    I submit, therefore, that ignoring and demeaning Mr. Seinfeld's self-diagnosis is akin to ignoring and demeaning anyone who identify's themselves as being on the Autism Spectrum.

    We are responsible to listen to those who need help - from the parents - to those who reside on the Autism Spectrum.   If we don't listen to their voice, to their cries for help... then we are just as responsible for those lost as the Parents who reached their wits end.

    I commend Mr. Seinfeld for seeing that he 'may be somewhere on the spectrum'.   The fact that he shared this also means that he will get all the positive and negative issues associated with being on the Spectrum.   Hopefully he will be encouraged by the community, and I hope that he will continue his support of Autism awareness efforts that have already helped many people and organizations.

    I believe that we are to always encourage one another in our journey.   To do otherwise is demeaning and selfish.