E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

Gran Canaria

¡¡¡Feliz Año 2008!!!

You probably thought I would actually get busy writing another blog post where I would be summarising 2007 or sharing my views on some predictions for 2008, as we are coming closer to the end of another incredibly exciting year. Yet, I am going to save you the trouble of having to read about such things here, as I am sure there are plenty of other places out there, where you could have some exposure to some really good insights on various different topics. Instead, I am just going to take the liberty to wish all of you, who I have been in contact with through whatever the social software tool, as well as face to face, a Happy New Year and, much more importantly, a very very Prosperous & Healthy 2008!!!

Yes, that is going to be my wish for the New Year we are about to get started with. Lots of prosperity and good health, specially for the latter, because, without it, there isn’t anything we can do. Sometimes we take for granted the little things, those that keep us going day in day out. Health is one of them. We always take it for granted and yet we couldn’t survive without it. So instead of wishing all sorts of cool things to happen all over the place and to all those folks out there I’ve been in touch with, I am just going to keep things simple. Stay healthy, be healthy, and the rest will just come along nicely!

That is right! As simple as it would get. Lots of good health for the New Year and hope that everyone gets to fulfil whatever their dreams may well be. Mine is going to be to try to stay healthy, too, so that I can enjoy being in touch with those I love and care for, those who have given me another incredible year without asking for anything in return. Those who care enough to be themselves and allow me to be part of their lives. And, of course, wishing to stay healthy so that I can keep enjoying this wonderful place I live in.

Here you have got some pictures I took yesterday from one of my favourite places in Gran Canaria: Roque Bentaiga. If you have taken a look in the past to the ones I have shared already in my Flickr account, this particular series is a special one, since I got to visit the monolith and climb it as far as it is possible. Quite an incredible experience, I tell you! Here you have got some pictures and hope to share some more later on. And, yes, the place is as mystical as you could have ever imagined!! And quite humbling, too!

¡¡¡Feliz Año 2008!!!

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Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Me

While still trying to digest some of the fantastic, overwhelming and exciting reactions to the initial blog post on Next Generation Knowledge Sharing & Learning Online Conference Event – In Spring 2008? and while I am still trying to figure out a couple of things before I comment further back into that particular blog entry on further steps, I thought I would go ahead and do some light blogging on a topic that I seem to have been tagged from a couple of folks already, who I read on a regular basis and who have been participating in a couple of different memes on a very similar topic: Seven things you didn’t know about me by Martin Koser and Gullible about Work / Blog Balance by Reasonable Robinson.

Yes, that is right. It is another meme where the rules seem to be pretty straight forward:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.

2. List EIGHT random facts about yourself.

3. Tag EIGHT people at the end of your post and list their names.

4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

And although Martin’s meme post seems to be slightly different I thought about combining both of them since the overall outcome seems to be pretty similar. So here we go with the meme post and here you have eight random facts about myself that you may not have heard / read elsewhere:

1. I was born and raised in a very small village in León, which is where I have spent a good chunk of my life. Another good chunk is spread around The Netherlands (Where I lived 7 years) and, finally, Gran Canaria, where I have been living for nearly four years now.

2. I first got exposed to the world of computers in high school (Yes, I was one of the folks who owned an Amstrad CPC 464!) and back then my marks on computer lessons were really bad, which gave me the impression I would never, ever, work with computers. Fast forward to today … Already 10 years in the IT world and still going strong! 🙂

3. After I graduated from University, I spent one year working in Thale, Germany, where I got to experience one of the most severe winters in my life thus far with up to -30C. for several days!! But I must say I loved the overall experience quite a bit!!

4. First time I came to Gran Canaria was in 1996 (For a very short period of time) and back then I knew I would be coming back at some point. It took me only 8 years to make that happen 🙂

5. I actually got my job at IBM while I was spending a two week holiday in The Netherlands in 1997. Probably the longest two weeks I’ve ever known!! (Already heading for my 11th year in the company!)

6. While working for IBM, I spent another year of my life in Dublin, Ireland, where there is very little I would need to explain, if you ever have been there. Yes, I know, I need to get back there for a short visit and catch up some time soon!

7. I was first exposed to Knowledge Management by the end of 1999 and during that time I already sensed it was going to be the field / discipline I would be developing my skills & expertise over the course of the years. Two years later I was working, full time, in a Knowledge Management team. Till today. (And, yes, still going strong, in case you are wondering…)

8. And, finally, I initially got started with my blogging experience back in 2003, as a way to prove to myself how I could work smarter, not necessarily harder, relying on the community and my social networks to get the job done versus having to do the job myself re-inventing the wheel over and over again. Four years later, and just a couple of days after the 10th year anniversary of the word "Weblog", I still feel the same way. Blogs, and plenty of the various different social networks where I hang out, still make me work smarter. Much smarter! Not harder.

And that would be it. Next on this blog post is to actually tag another 8 people who would be willing, hopefully, to take the challenge and share with us 8 factoids about themselves that we may not have heard elsewhere. So here is my list of folks I would love to hear some more from on this particular topic. In random order: Jasmin Tragas (a.k.a. Jazzydee), Thomas van der Wal (a.k.a. wanderwal), David Stephenson (a.k.a. DavidStephenson), Susan Scrupski (a.k.a. ITSinsider), Dennis McDonald (a.k.a. ddmcd), Stuart Henshall (a.k.a. stuarthenshall), Andy Piper (a.k.a. andypiper) and Jon Husband (a.k.a. jonhusband).

I am sure that I could have included a whole bunch of the folks I get to interact with on a daily basis, so feel tagged as well if you would want to chime in a well. Why not, right?

Either way, I am sure that with this particular blog post you actually got to find out about stuff on me that you probably haven’t seen / read elsewhere. Hope you have found it just as entertaining as it was for me to put it up going through that trip down the memory lane.

Now time to go ahead and digest some of the wonderful discussions going on Next Generation Knowledge Sharing & Learning Online Conference Event – In Spring 2008? and see where it would take us all… Fancy joining us on that wild ride, too?

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Blog Action Day: The Role of Knowledge Management and Social Computing while Going Green

Today is Blog Action Day! and I was actually pondering earlier on whether I would be one of the folks who would be creating a blog post related to the subject of the environment (or not), which is what Blog Action Day! tries to promote; every blogger creating a blog post for the day in their respective blogs and help spread of the message: “Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future“. James Governor, a.k.a. monkchips, mentioned that I should go ahead and share some further insights and here I am.

You may probably think, after reading that paragraph, that I may not be really concerned about the environment, right? Well, that is not the case by all means, specially living in such fragile place as I have been living for the last three and a half years. It has always been in my mind. I have always been watching different T.V. programmes on the subject to help educate myself on how I could help, or take different tests like the Ecological Footprint Quiz (Where I scored 4.3 where the average for Spain 4.7, mainly because of the different flights I have taken this year, which makes me wonder quite a bit, too! Perhaps I should stop travelling as much as I have been doing this year altogether) that would show how much on track I am. Not good enough, I know, but still trying really hard to improve my footprint by the day, it is a continuous learning process, because after all it’s the least we could all do, don’t you think?

So, while I have been thinking what I could blog about on the subject for Blog Action Day!, I mean, trying to establish the relationship between the environment and Knowledge Management along with Social Computing, it just hit me big time! And here I am. Putting together a few thoughts on how I think both KM and Social Computing could help out bring forward the conversation on how to preserve what’s been given to us so that we can pass it on to later generations in best of conditions.

They say that both KM and Social Computing are all about having an impact. An impact in the way you share knowledge, you collaborate, you connect and innovate with others. An impact that, if anything, has always been notorious for taking action, your *own* action, into wanting to change things and make things happen the right way.

Thus, in a day like Blog Action Day! I have finally decided to take action myself and comment on something that I have always found hard to believe and that has bugged me for quite some time now, but yet it’s happening day in day out. I am not sure what is going to happen next, but, at least, that is my way to show I care and how this article will be the kickoff of something that I hope will be happening soon.

We all know that one way to improve your footprint on the environment is to apply and live by the word recycle. Yes, recycle as much as you can! But what happens when you live in a small town of say 10,000 people, or less, like I do, and you find out there isn’t a single container you could make use of to recycle paper, plastic or metal? Yes, that is right. I live in a place that seems to be not very environmentally friendly since, except for glass, everything goes into the same bucket. That doesn’t seem to be right, does it?

That is why, thanks to Blog Action Day! and to prove the power of Social Computing and KM, I am going to start taking action myself and spread the message around. Recycling is essential for us all, not just for big cities. It’s our responsibility to recycle all we can, so that we can continue to educate ourselves in how to preserve what has been given to us. It is our responsibility to act now! (Regardless of where you are).

They say that the biggest impact of KM and Social Computing is when applied locally and I truly believe that (And for a number of years now). Thus with the excuse of today’s blog post I am actually going to take some action of my own, and continue to blog every now and then on how the little town I live in makes some more substantial progress into encouraging us all recycle more properly by providing us the means of doing so. Because, otherwise what is the point of everyone else recycling except us? What is the point of spreading the word around on things that are just not right, if we don’t react and fix them right away?!?! How difficult could it be to provide us with the right means to do some serious recycling of everything we make use of? Is it really that complicated? I doubt it.

Stay tuned for some progress as we move along. Feel free to link to this blog post to enhance that impact we can all have in our daily lives. Does your small town recycle enough? Does your local town hall worry too much about the waste we are all generating? If not, what are you willing to do to make it happen? I am not sure about you, but today I just got a new mission started. Want to join me? Start local and have that impact you always wanted to have: respect the environment!

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What It Once Was … Presa de Soria (Soria’s Dam)

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Continuing further with the weekly series on What It Once Was here I am again at it. This week sharing with you folks some pictures from one place in Gran Canaria that I have always found very very special. Not just because it is the largest reservoir dam there is in the island of Gran Canaria, with a capacity of 40.288.625 cubic meter (m³) of water, but also because some of its surroundings are just spectacular. Truly spectacular!

It may take a while before the area would recover from the fires, but it would certainly be one place that I will keep coming back and see how little by little it would recover. It is going to be a slow process, I know, but precious gems like this one do leave a mark and always make you come back. Yes, indeed, I am talking about Presa de Soria or Soria’s Dam. One of those magical places that will show you nature at its best in a magnificent and breath-taking surrounding.

I have taken lots and lots of long walks over there over the course of time, and time and time again I keep having that strong feeling I need to come back again. Yes, I know, one of those special places. Thus here I go sharing some more pictures I took not long ago, and before the recent fires created havoc all around the area, so that you get a chance to admire such incredible place while it slowly comes back into shape.

It kind of makes you wonder what people were thinking about when provoking those fires. After seeing some of these pictures, and the whole lot more I have shared over at my Flickr account, I still cannot find the words. Seriously. Still can’t … And here is why:

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Gran Canaria Is Burning! … Again!

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And while we are still recovering from some of the fatal consequences from the recent fires developed in Gran Canaria, that wiped out in a matter of days thousands and thousands of years of nature doing what she knows best, here we go again. Canarias7, as usual, is doing a superb job in keeping us updated by reporting some news from earlier on this evening on a new fire that got started around 8.30pm local time in Ingenio, Gran Canaria, around the area of Pasadilla, close to Guayadeque (Guayadeque being one of the most emblematic and charismatic spaces from the entire island!) and which by the time I am writing this down it looks like the fire is under control and has not been progressing for several hours already.

However, it has not been extinguished just yet as the firefighters are still doing their magic in helping keep it under control. A couple of bloggers, Miguel, from Canarias Bruta, Reena and Esther, from Atarecos, have already been commenting on the situation, but it looks like not much more has been mentioned thus far. Something that could be taken as good news, in the sense that the fire may not be as serious as the one that took place a couple of weeks back.

The number of hectares potentially affected has not been mentioned just yet, as they are probably still evaluating the reach of the fire and ensuring it is extinguished as soon as possible, but you can already have a look into this thread of opinions from people all over the island sharing their thoughts about what is happening. Link is in Spanish, I know, but you would be able to see some of what is going on with 9 pages of commentary and growing!

I just hope that we may have learned something from our previous grievous experience(s) and, like it is mentioned in this particular editorial, we need to ensure everyone gets the message that it is the task of us all (Administrations, firefighters, special units, etc. and us, the common people) to take care of what was given to us without asking for anything in return. And the least we could all do is just that, take care of it to be able to pass it on generation after generation:

Ahora, solo cabe esperar que las administraciones tomen buena nota de la sabiduría popular para restablecer el orden ambiental y social en la isla, porque ellos, los campesinos y los habitantes de la reserva de la biosfera saben mejor que nadie cómo preparar la tierra para el futuro.

Like I said it back then, my dearest paradise is burning again and it hurts. It truly hurts…

(Picture courtesy from Canarias7)

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Emergency 2.0 and Social Software – Making Enterprise 2.0 Really Matter

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A couple of the folks that I get to read on a regular basis have been commenting in the last couple of days on a news item, originally from PCWorld, titled LA Fire Department all ‘aTwitter’ over Web 2.0, where throughout the article itself you would be able to read further how the L.A. Fire Department is starting to make use of social software tools like Twitter in order to be able to handle whatever emergencies and crises in a much more efficient and effective way by spreading information around much faster than through traditional tools. Quite an interesting read, to say the least, and a real business case for Twitter, nevertheless.

This particular topic is something that I have been thinking about myself quite a bit lately, specially after the recent fires in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, amongst other Canary Islands, and which I feel that Rob Paterson has put together quite nicely over at the FASTForward Blog in Social Media Adoption – Maybe a Crisis Will Help? Mike Gotta has made also an excellent point about how much we may be underestimating social software tools when handling crises of whatever the magnitude, just because most people may be using some of those tools for fun.

For a number of years we have given lots of importance to Knowledge Management in the business world, and lately that same focus seems to have gone into social computing as way to validate it for us all, but how about if, instead of just focusing on the corporate world, we would have KM and social software focusing on what really matters: the day to day stuff that can affect your own life (And that of your loved ones) and the environment for many years to come.

Yes, that is right. This is something that I have already talked about in the past. Just because you cannot justify the business usage of various social software tools it does not mean they are not useful to knowledge workers out there in general. On the contrary. That is exactly what the LAFD has proved with their adoption of different social software tools. Just like Mike Gotta mentioned, it is not about justifying the use of Twitter, or also of blogs, YouTube video channels, Flickr, podcasts, etc. etc. It is just a matter of making use of these tools to live and work smarter and not necessarily harder.

I mean, can you imagine if the local fire department, and the local government, here in Gran Canaria, would have set up a blog, or a podcast, or a Flickr account or even a Twitter channel a couple of years back and started educating the population in general on what could happen on a catastrophe of such proportions at this one and at the same time educate us all in what we could do to help, I bet that the end result of the disaster would have been completely different.

In fact, not only would the impact of the crisis would have been minimal, but there would have been from day one a very strong sense of belonging to the community from all parties involved that would have helped avoid having to go through such tough times as part of that prevention and education that would have taken place from way before.

This is one of the main reasons why in the past I have always been a very big fan of KM weblogs like those from Dave Pollard (How to Save the World) and David Stephenson (The Homeland Security 2.0 Blog) and why over the last few days I feel that it may be a good time now to explore how social software could help a group of people heal their wounds and those of their motherland, the land where they were born and raised, and help prevent future disasters like this one and, if not, at least, prepare us all to make the most out of it and help keep the damage to a minimum.

That is exactly what the LAFD has done thus far and I seriously hope that more and more folks would chime in these efforts. Because, after all, why should you worry about the corporate world and its adoption of social software when there are much more important things to safeguard, like your home, your family, the environment where you live (And work), in short,  the things your treasure the most.

Would you be up for the challenge? Would you start focusing where we would need to focus on while encouraging the adoption of social software? What is your local government doing on the subject? Are we all prepared to prevent the next disaster? Would you know how to react and help out? Perhaps too many questions out there. Perhaps we should start getting some answers for them…

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