Tuesday, July 30, 2013

There are many conversations happening in contra dance circles about "bad behavior" at dances. I don't really want to get into a discussion about what is considered good and bad and what the rules should be, but it does occur to me that the source of most unpleasant behavior at dances is rooted in fear. For instance (no judgement here - just an example), people book ahead because they are afraid of being left out, afraid of getting a clumsy or creepy partner, afraid of not enjoying themselves.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if we chose to dance fearlessly? What if we chose to dance without judgement or fear of being judged? What if we danced with the assurance that we can have a great time with any partner, with the confidence that our needs will be met, and, more importantly, danced with the courage that we can help make the dance joyful for everyone we encounter?

Ever have a dance get all snarled up despite everyone's best efforts? I've seen dancers get cranky and even angry. But oh my lord what a difference when someone says, "It doesn't matter, we're excellent dancers and can have fun no matter what!" All of a sudden the room is oxygenated again, the smiles come back, the music sparks and our whole reason for being there settles back into place.

So I write this about dancing, but it's really about everything:
Dance fearlessly, everything is going to be ok.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Zurk You, Too

So this might be the single-most obnoxious email I've ever received from a company who was trying to keep my business. I tried Zurker 96 days ago as a possible alternative to Facebook, but was immediately swamped with spammy connections and idiotic posts. Also the made-up "zurk, zurker, zurking" was more than I could stomach - call me irked, irker, irking. Needless to say the account is closed, the mysterious "vShares" have been forfeited and I am no longer a Zurker (thank the almighty stars above). Here is a beautiful example of a customer-repelling letter to be filed with your Abercrombie & Fitch press releases and Paula Deen cookware.

Hi Sarah Gowan,

The premise behind Zurker has always been that it is a social network owned by the members who use it.

Emphasis on "use it."

If you do not use Zurker, you are not entitled to co-own Zurker.

You last came to Zurker 96 days ago. This is unacceptable. If you continue to refuse to support the project, your vShares will be rescinded.

It's been 18+ months since Zurker was launched. During this time, a huge amount of development has taken place, and the world has shifted in our favor. The world is as ready for a member-owned, ethically run, privacy-oriented social network as it will ever be. We must now come together and support the project with activity and traffic so that we can make an impact on the media, and claim our rightful destiny as the world's next dominant social network.

A large number of members have started zurking regularly and our traffic profile has improved dramatically, by no less than 130,000 Alexa points in just a fortnight - but many more continue to be absent. For Zurker to become successful, we need everyone to show up and support the project.

This includes you, Sarah Gowan. 

All you need to do is zurk one post a day. This takes less than 1 minute. I am sure you can spare 1 minute a day to support a project you co-own, but if this is not possible, you might as well close your account now.


I am confident that enough Zurkers will come together and propel us to success. But if not, I will not be held liable for the closure of this project. This is a community-owned, community-driven project. Irrespective of what I do, the community must come together for this project to go anywhere. You are an important part of the community, and I am counting on you to do your part.

Stay blessed.

Nick Oba
Custodian and co-founder of Zurker