Interface of Engagement

The funny thing about engagement is that at a certain point in life we all seem to have it, then it is challenged by varying degrees of disillusion, then we are at a loss at what it is all about and how to achieve it.

Engagement Interface 01

Technology has its way of being discovered, explored, exploited and manipulated. Here is a photo taken by my webcam. The device, my cell phone, was used to shoot my computer screen. In it a scan of the same device lying beside a chocolate bar is inserted into a blog entry that I’ve posted as a preview to the item you are reading right now.

My evening of October 3 started at the Oakridge Open House and continued into the heavily decorated hall of the Orpheum. Tweets containing questions from the audience were printed on cards and handed after walking on stage to be read by Anna Maria Tremonti and then to be addressed by Robert Reich…

But before this tiny piece of occurrence, there was reference to the displaced Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish people on whose territory the event took place; we had mega screens showing us crowd-sourced videos of engaged Vancouverites, followed by pre-recorded questions from prominent figures of society.

Robert is a funny guy. To my ignorance, he served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997 (Wikipedia). He’s a funny guy that takes life seriously. The evening with him was too long sitting on my butt, listening to mostly interesting stuff.  The problem is that no matter how smart the presenter, or how important the message, the hall seemed to me a bit too big for this discussion.

Engagement Interface 02

Robert’s message that resonated the most with me, talked about the need to increase our society’s investment in early age education. He pointed to the first five as the formative years of any member of society. Our daughter is already nine years old so when I got back home, all I could offer her was this pretty satisfying bar of chocolate.

Everything these days seems to be so absolutely BIG. And so was this evening at the Orpheum. SFU’s intentions of providing meaningful engagement falls into the established trenches of business growth.  Vancity, the core sponsor of this event, was represented by CEO Tamara Vrooman, who inevitably and inelegantly pitched her organization’s services. On our way out we were greeted by volunteers who handed us a chocolate bar from another sponsor. Yes, this was a free event and I appreciate the effort.

But engagement is a matter of choice. I have chosen to go to the Oakridge Open House. I then continued to the talk with Robert Reich. Anna Maria Tremonti was as fluent and enchanting as she usually is on radio, where I hear her most. On a single transit ticket I managed the first two rides, one on the 43 bus, the other on Canada Line. Then on my way home I hopped on the Skytrain from downtown to 29th Ave.

Then I got a message from a dear friend that she’s getting married. Which is a completely different kind of engagement.

More to come…

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