Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Zero Sum Laude

Random Selections, Feb 11, 2006

A rare Saturday issue of OLDaily, partially because I'm behind in my coverage and partially because I need something to do. I am home again from Sweden and will be home for twelve days (I checked) before heading for Alaska. I'm still a little jet lagged (it will catch up with me tomorrow), pensive, reflective and conflicted. That's OK, that's my usual state of being (including, these days, the jet lag). Which brings me to this post, which describes what amounts to an advertsing campaign by a certain soft drink company that not only apropriates our medium for its own ends, but also even the number zero. I won't point to that site (you can get it from the link) but I will point to the alternative, one that is more reflective of my values and indeed even my mood: "Drinks don't need cheesy theme songs, a posse of trucks, or plastic/aluminium containers. But thanks to companies like Coke, land is cleared and waste and pollution are created just to make sure people have sweetened, chilled beverages. All this in a world where one person in five has ZERO access to clean drinking water." So let me put this in perspective and put it a bit bluntly: when Coca-Cola puts as much money into providing drinking water to people who have none as it does into its advertising, then I will be interested in what it has to say to me and may even buy some of its products. Not until (this may seem to have little to do with today's issue, but follow this theme through the rest of today's posts and see whether we're not, in fact, talking about the same thing).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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