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Bowling Alone

“Social capital may turn out to be a prerequisite for, rather than a
consequence of, effective computer-mediated communication.”
--Robert Putnam
Photo by Pierre Metivier on Flickr
Midnight Basketball

…works on “the theory that the person who stole
your car, robbed your house and assaulted your
family was no more than a disgruntled artist or
would-be NBA star.“
--Texas Rep. Lamar Smith
Photo by NOWCastSA on Flickr
MSP Touch Football

“For some football is a metaphor for life. For
those who play it, football is life itself.”
--G. Gordon Liddy
“Ouch!”
--David Erickson
Breaking Barriers & Bones
Honey, Can We Go Bowling?

Can’t You See I’m Individualizing?!?

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Touch Football & Social Media Capital

Editor's Notes

  1. Bowling Alone [PHOTO: Pierre Metivier]“Social capital may turn out to be a prerequisite for, rather than a consequence of, effective computer-mediated communication.”Robert Putnam - January 1995 Article Bowling AloneDecline of social capitalFewer people joining traditional civic organizationsMore individuals bowling but fewer people joining bowling leaguesCulprit:Decline in institutions due to antagonistic political cultureTechnology “individualizing” leisure timeNetscape browser released month before: December 1994Yahoo.com created: January 1995Two events that marked the mainstream popularization of the Internet
  2. Midnight Basketball [PHOTO: NOWCastSA] Program within President Clinton’s 1994 anti-crime bill$40 million program in the $33 billion crime bill Texas Rep. Lamar Smith: it worked on "the theory that the person who stole your car, robbed your house and assaulted your family was no more than a disgruntled artist or would-be NBA star."In his 1996 campaign for president, Republican Kansas Sen. Bob Dole called midnight basketball "a subtle and sickening appeal to racism." Started off as one of Republican President George H.W. Bush's "thousand points of light."  In 1989, then-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp worked with the Chicago Housing Authority to get it off the ground.Late Jack Kemp was, not coincidentally, a former professional quarterbackUnderstood the salutary effect of mixing people of different racesCareer: 1957-1969 - Overlapped the Civil Rights movementDesegregating Little Rock Central High: 1957Sit-ins: 1958-1960Freedom Rides: 1961March on Washington: 1963Civil Rights Act: 1964Boycott of the AFL All-Star Game due to the racism players faced in New Orleans, moved to Houston: 1965MLK Jr Assassination: 1968He was the first white player to ever room with a black player when he played for the Buffalo BillsWhile playing with the San Diego Chargers, Kemp objected when the white players were booked into a nice hotel in Dallas and the black players were relegated to a dumpy hotel far away. Because of his complaints, all the players stayed in a not-so-nice hotel together.Thus, Kemp was an advocate of broadening the diversity of the GOPClinton signed the anti-crime bill on September 13, 1994 without funding for Midnight Basketball
  3. MSP Touch Football“For some football is a metaphor for life. For those who play it, football is life itself.” --G. Gordon LiddyMight be the only thing me & the Watergate burglar agree onBut that’s enough commonalityHe’s got a standing invitation to join us in our touch football gamesStarted by Rick Birmingham15 years agoEmail for AllWith a Listserv & a love of the gameEvery Saturday afternoon in MinneapolisEvery Sunday afternoon in St. PaulWednesday evenings as light & weather permits52 weeks a yearRainSnowShineFreePeople from all walks of lifeAfrican Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics & Old White Guys, like meMasters’ Degrees and the functionally illiterateCity and SuburbShorties to 50 year oldsLiberals & ConservativesChristians, Muslims, Jews & AtheistsGay & StraightUnemployed people, blue collar workers & white collar professionalsChief of Staff of a MayorNonprofit LeadersGuy who sold his tech company to DellArt Director for the Madden video game franchiseA budding rock starA budding comedianBarberJournalistsCollege Admissions DirectorTeachersCops& A public relations and marketing professional like yours trulyI took over organizing because of my marketing expertiseOrganize this purely out of self interestEnlightened self-interest implies I understood the benefits of playing beyond the joy of the game
  4. Breaking Bones & Breaking BarriersLike anything, there are pluses & minuses9 broken bonesBroke hand this spring, then fingerConvenient excuse to play QBLearned more about leadership in the past 4 months than in my entire lifeAll eyes are on youHow you behave mattersLet others speak for youMuch more in tuned to reading emotionsTake those lessons with me to the workplace & my communityCHARACTER: Football reveals characterDoes the quarterback try and spread the ball around or does he always go to his favorite targets?Does he make a special effort to get the ball to new people?Does a receiver work just as hard to get others open as he does to get the ball himself?Does an individual play with joy or with anger?Does he always try to circumvent the rules?EMPATHY: Playing with a diverse mix of people teaches empathyStrategy of the game encourages you to put yourself in the shoes of your opponentI see the cops hovering aroundI see crossing to the other side of the streetI hear the stories about driving while blackI have a much better a sense of the lack of respect with which our society treats young black men than most of my white friends & colleaguesI have a more attuned ear to dog-whistle politicsThat empathy makes me a much more effective professionalKnowledge is sharedExperience & skills are gainedOrganizationTeamworkCollaborationLeadershipOpportunities are createdJobsMOST IMPORTANTLY: I’ve made many very good friendsHappy hours with a Republican fundraiserStronger ties to my community
  5. Honey, Can We Go Bowling?People of like mind have always found one anotherUsed to be to clubs & newslettersNow it’s through the InternetPeople use these tools for very practical purposesFind like-minded peopleOrganize like minded peopleThey end up building networks both online & offAnd that builds social capitalHow Did We Do It?Email (Listserv -> Mailchimp)Text to graphicsWebsite: MinnesotaTouchFootball.comSearchContactEmailEmail newsletterRewarding communityPlay of the daySuper HeroesEducating CommunityWhen & WhereRulesFootball educationFacebookPages & GroupsEventsConversationsIndividual ConnectionsTwitterWhen and Where announcementsConversationsGoogle+Search VisibilityYouTubeTrailersHighlightsCraigslistRecruitingNew arrivals to MinnesotaMeetupOther groupsUncle Sven’s Comic Shop FootballMobilePhone numbersText messagingROBERT PUTNAM Was WRONG: Far from isolating people, these tools are building connections2009 Pew Internet study:Ownership of a mobile phone and participation in a variety of internet activities are associated with larger and more diverse core discussion networks.Social media activities are associated with several beneficial social activitiesHaving discussion networks that are more likely to contain people from different backgrounds. Frequent internet users, and those who maintain a blog are much more likely to confide in someone who is of another race. Those who share photos online are more likely to discuss important matters with someone who is a member of another political party. internet use and social media use are associated with having a more diverse social networkInternet users are as likely as anyone else to visit with their neighbors in person. Cell phone users, those who use the internet frequently at work, and bloggers are more likely to belong to a local voluntary association.Internet use is associated with engagement in places such as parks, cafes, and restaurants, the kinds of locales where research shows that people are likely to encounter a wider array of people and diverse points of view.So, in addition to G.GordonLiddy, I would like to extend a standing invitation to Robert Putnam, Larmar Smith, Bob Dole and y’all to play football with meMinnesotaTouchFootball.com