Feb 23

My new piece in The Guardian about high tech and social issues

Yesterday I published a piece in The Guardian about high tech, gentrification, community engagement, and all that good stuff. I have some follow-up thoughts and reactions today….

I took a lot of time writing that piece, because I wanted to make it impactful within a limited word count. I worked very hard to make it as gentle as possible, because these are highly charged issues. I often find it harder to write something short-and-blunt-yet-kind than to write a very long piece that covers all the angles.

Social justice problems are culturally entrenched, and they take advantage of deep flaws in human psychology. What I was trying to say with my Guardian piece is this: The people most likely to move the needle on those problems are people with very strong social skills and cultural understanding. Anyone who wants to contribute would be well-served to start by developing those skills.

None of this is easy for anyone involved. I have never felt like I was working harder than I did when I spent most of my time in the social justice world. Sometimes there’s not a great place to start — and sometimes you have to take a step back. Since I broke my neck a few years ago, I myself haven’t done as much of this work as I used to — I’ve had a lot on my mind. ;)

So I just wanted to acknowledge that this work is very hard, and also to acknowledge that my piece only scratched the surface.

Thanks to everyone who read my piece and sent feedback, both positive and negative. I know it was simple and didn’t cover all the bases. But maybe if we start from that simple place, we will eventually get somewhere more effective and complex.