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An event series sponsored by Lunch.com with promotional support from SF New Tech and Social Media Club

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Lunch For Good - My reviews!

  • Sep 25, 2009
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Lunch For Good #3 - "Finding Common Ground"

Remember the show The A-Team?  If you fast forward to the end of every episode when Mr. T and the rest of the crew either solved the crime or rescued the damsel in distress, lead character John "Hannibal" Smith always closed the show with his famous quote, "I love it when a plan comes together".   And to be honest, that's how I felt as we wrapped up another amazing Lunch For Good event a few weeks ago.

As the third and final luncheon, we saved the best for last -- both in content and venue.   Somehow, we lucked out and were able to secure the very top floor of one of the tallest buildings in San Francisco to play host to our most important discussion yet.  There, with commanding 360 degree views of the Bay Area, we gathered some of the smartest thinkers and some of the most intriguing opinion leaders to dive into what it takes to find others who share your interests on the Internet.  

It may sound easy -- but when was the last time you really found an individual you really connected with online and were able to build a relationship with?  Aside from the random Twitter conversation with a stranger, I'd wager to say the last time that happend you were either trying to find a date Match.com or you found someone who shared your interests offline thanks to a site like Meetup.com.   You certainly didn't find a kindred spirit by searching for them on Google.

Enter Lunch.com -- and how finding common ground with others is baked into its DNA.    The discussion we held at the top of the Spear Tower drilled down into what we, as members of the plugged-in digerati -- can do to help foster and better enable people to build those bridges and, in turn, build trust and what they call 'social captial' with folks who were no more than strangers before you began to engage with them on a platform that was built just for that -- finding common ground.  For a glimpse of what went down on the top floor during our Lunch For Good #3 discussion, check out this excellent article in PC World titled "Techies Gather for a Lunch to Save the World."

There are so many aspects to our daily lives that we can share insights about that can help others.  Many of us keep our knowledge bottled up.  And those who share are often rewarded with that rare, glowing feeling that you get when you help someone in need.

In all, Lunch For Good was a most excellent adventure in thought and discussion on how to improve our intereactions with others online.   And I'm thrilled to have been a part of it.

Lunch For Good #2 - "Sparking Critical Thought"

The second installment of Lunch For Good came and went and I must admit -- this conversation just keeps getting better and better.   Our mission with Lunch For Good #2 was to explore ways we can help evolve the notion of enticing more critical thinking online.  The knee-jerk reaction to post a comment, press a button that says "like" or "dislike" (thumbs up or down), or jump into a comment thread with happenstance prose that's far from developed, is in essence (and often in retrospect) a demonstration of poor judgment, not of good judgment.   We need to dial this back and improve the processes and the triggers of how people are invited to participate in online conversations.

The Internet is (still) a wild place and people have become too accustomed to reacting flippantly to others versus engaging their mental gears and thinking through the best way to engage and respond, that all to often leads to an unavoidable minefield of tit-for-tat chatter that's meant to pass a conversation -- but fails miserably at doing so. 

We have all been trained since birth to think through our actions before acting but online we tend to forget about this little life lesson and the result is not something to be proud of.  The big question -- and the topic of this last conversation -- is how can we move away from this short-attention-span-theater type of conversation and spark more critical thinking online for the benefit of not only the conversation at-hand but to better the online environment as a place that's truly enriching and beneficial.

There are no easy answers here.  People are being coaxed to think in 140 characters or less, leaving little room for diving into critical thinking.  

The 80 or so passionate folks who joined us for lunch last week-- a hearty crew of community managers, journalists, online conversationalists, and the like -- were really engaged in our shared quest for finding ways and means of improvement....and mind blowingly so!

I urge you to view the videos from this event to see exactly what I'm talking about: that there are small, but significant, things we can do as members of the online community at-large to move the needle towards more critical discourse in our online dealings. 

Sometimes all it takes is a simple idea of action for the iteration process to begin ... and with Lunch For Good #2, I must say, we made serious strides in exploring the nuances that can create a c-change in the evolution of community, dialogue and, yes, critical thinking online.


Lunch For Good #1 - Encouraging Responsible Participation

Yesterday,  some of the most forward thinkers on the subject of online communities gathered together to discuss what it really means to be a "responsible participant" online.  

The event began with light networking and culminated to break out discussions and then to consensus reporting about the ramifications of what it means to participate in online communities and why there continue to be issues that surround comfort levels of participation, access to participation, etiquette, as well as problems inherent in the digital landscape that can hinder inter-personal communications.   

The questions on how to ease the fears while transitioning from community participation in the real world into the online world aren't new -- but many of perspectives brought to the table yesterday were, and the conversation is just getting started.  

You're encouraged to view the videos once they're posted and to chime in with your own thoughts on these very important questions!

I'm proud to have been able to play a role in bringing such an amazing group of people together for this discussion and am looking forward to round two in late October when we'll dive a little deeper and seek solutions to how to better spark critical thought online. 

If you'll be in San Francisco in late October and would like to be considered for an invitation to the next Lunch For Good, please click here.

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More Lunch for Good reviews
review by . October 26, 2009
Organizational Psychologist (aka: Human Connector Conduit)  in the room. It was, after all, a media driven lunch. But much to my surprise, I was very pleased to find out that it wasn't that at all. (I love being surprised)  At first, I thought it would be a whole bunch of people I didn't know (which was true except Cathy Brooks, whom invited me there- thank you Cathy!) talking about things I didn't know, but then after sitting at the table and hearing six passionate people, …
review by . September 25, 2009
Encouraging respectful and engaging online conversations      Yesterday I attended Lunch for Good an event that explored the idea of responsible online engagement and participation. The group was inspired to discuss how we can dramatically improve the online conversation and drive more people to contribute their well-thought out opinions.            I personally believe that online conversations dramatically improve when people are encouraged …
review by . September 28, 2009
*I'd still strongly suggest a Lunch for Good alumni group on Linked In. We can delve more into each other's backgrounds there (without grilling people) and come up with other points of connection. There might be an easy link back to this community site, but I think an LI group would enhance this group's growth.      An excellent way to meet with people from non-profit and for profit sectors and brainstorm how one can increase the quantity of online participation and the …
Quick Tip by . October 28, 2009
Lunch For Good just keeps getting better and better!
Quick Tip by . October 23, 2009
Feeling inspired by some excellent Critical Thought and totally stoked for the November event. The best is yet to come with Lunch for Good!
Quick Tip by . October 23, 2009
FANTASTIC event! Very important discussion that has continued for me into my podcast and personal life. Worth every second of my time!
Quick Tip by . October 21, 2009
Inspiring conversation at the first event, and looking forward to being further challenged at the second.
Quick Tip by . October 06, 2009
I enjoyed Lunch for Good, met a number of interesting & tech-connected people, and look forward to the next one.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2009
Key success factors there: people, topics and food! Live grokking underscores that there is no substitute for incarnate interaction.
Quick Tip by . September 28, 2009
really impressed with the awesome group that attended! can't wait for next month's event.
About the reviewer

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Member Since: Mar 10, 2009
Last Login: Dec 15, 2009 06:00 PM UTC
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Lunch for Good is a three-part event series bringing together innovators and engaged citizens in the tech and Internet space to discuss the evolution of how people participate and interact online — and most importantly, how that progress can also coalesce to make the world a better place.

The goal is to connect our industry’s thought leaders for an ongoing, dynamic dialogue about how to improve online engagement so that it can have a positive social impact. Our themes will cover “Responsible Participation,” “Critical Thought,” and “Common Ground” respectively each month.

Over lunch, we’ll explore how we can foster better quality communities and contribution online, by focusing on a collaborated set of universal values. The outcome will cultivate a more positive, tolerant, and thoughtful culture in social media, working toward the greater good of our society as a whole.

Thursday, September 24 – Responsible Participation
Wednesday, October 22 – Critical Thought
Wednesday, November 18 – Common Ground

Lunch for Good is sponsored by Lunch.com with promotional support from SF New Tech and Social Media Club.

Check out the Lunch for Good blog!

Video Highlights from Lunch Fod Good #2 - October 22, 2009


Thoughts on Critical Thinking - Lunch for Good #2 from Lunch For Good on Vimeo.


Hiren Patel - Lunch For Good #2: Sparking Critical ...

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Location: San Francisco, CA
Date(s): September 24, 2009
Organization: Lunch.com, Social Media Club, SF New Tech
Venue: Orson

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