Worlds collided for me today as a sat back to watch a live stream of the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I tuned in thinking I'd be getting a restorative talk about technology & meditation practice in our busy lives from my Buddhist network but ended up getting to witness an anti eviction banner drop protesting Google.
Had I just seen my two revolutionary centered worlds collide head on?
I am responsible for some of the larger social media accounts in the Buddhist & mindfulness community. I rarely peek my head from out behind my ghost writing veil. If you tried to look at my home Tweet Deck I'd not only be breaking confidentially agreements with two different countries & I'd also soon be offering you a higher re birth. Breaking community trust online is life & death for me.
I am also a grassroots community activist with the Occupy Movement
Seeing a hand made banner calling to an end the No Fault evictions going on in San Francisco under the Ellis Act made me cheer & cringe.
The conference begun by Soren Gordhamer in 2013 brings together the founders & executives from the worlds most influential tech companies with the practitioners of yoga, mindfulness skills training & traditional Eastern meditation practices to hold conversations around what it means to connect in our modern digital world.
Wisdom 2.0 and it's growing online community are on the leading edge of what is being termed the mindful revolution. Everyone in attendance or watching online got reminded quite dramatically that at the core of it are disruptive ideas & technologies.
Livestreaming free content during an event is one of the best ways to promote your project, brand or effort but things can go in directions not intended.
Two activists from the Anti Eviction Mapping Project were able to take the stage just after a lively presentation by NY Based ImproveHQ's Zoe Galvez & Betsy Crouch in the middle of an informal group mindful practice by Google's Vice President of Learning Karen May.
The protest happened and no tweets or content from the event could be found for several minutes.
The specifics of what occurred and the resulting deletion of the event from the Livestream.com archives are not important. The unintentional media black out non attendees witnessed was simply creepy to experience.
When tweets did begun to appear they were first from the live tweeters watching the live stream along side me and 300 or so other. The Tweets which did emerge from on the ground attendees seemed quite disconnected with what we had just seen.
As a mindful activist I thought myself to be the first person to throw the company under their own automated bus but my dislike of Google is based in ignorance.
I am well aware that I barely know the company I use in so many ways in my daily life but I did in that moment remember a Google talk Sharon Salzberg did.
So when I observed what I thought to be one of the biggest wasted social media opportunities by both grass roots activist & the digital mindfulness I was conflicted unexpectedly. Be Mindful or Take Action? Which network did I serve. Who was right, who was wronged?
As the story broke it became harder and harder not to influence the community's reaction to the disconnect I witnessed on the live stream as I started to look into it.
Part of the reason I was online was that people I knew & handle social media for were in attendance & they were equally silent.
Turns out the room it happened in doesn't have strong Wifi & the Wisdom 2.0 crowd practices mindfulness by not using mobile devices during sessions. It's much like the Stealth Mediation Sharon had shared in her Google talk based on her latest book Real Happiness at Work.
The two activist hadn't been arrested, no press release could be found. Not even a tweet. Last seen they were talking with Bill Duane Google's Well Being and High Performance Learning Sr Manager & Engineer Meng Tan who's presentation they targeted with their creative direct action.
It got me thinking about how social media is no longer just broadcasting your work or communicating with those in your life but become inter twined with everything we do.
Is it just me or is this the shift from social media to a more dynamic, nearly in real time form of participatory media?
This article is apart of the next step that compassionate step Karen & Bill spoke of at the end of the now edited talk.
I invite anyone who may see this article to take the time to watch the work of the Wisdom 2.0 Community, Google & the activists in the next days. Something interesting is a foot.
The whole world is watching, and taking a breath.
To close I'd like to say Christine Barrington: Point of Information that wasn't your shadow your saw in the protest but your refection.
Will you stand with me and learn more about those facing economic injustice side by side?
Follow me on Twitter & we can begin to be the change.