Saturday, June 14, 2014

How Can We Use Technology to Connect?

This is a presentation I gave at Dr. Paul Lam's annual Tai Chi workshop in St. Louis, MO. See the notes at the end.

Good morning. I am very happy to be here at the world's biggest and best tai chi family reunion. We really are a family here.

Dr. Lam asked me to talk about Harmonizing Technology. I have absolutely no idea what that means. So I decided to ignore it in the hope that it would go away. It didn't. Eventually, I couldn't ignore it any more.

I still had no idea what to talk about. How can I talk about technology? It changes every time a new phone or tablet comes out or whenever a browser update comes out. It changes every time Facebook changes their privacy settings. Again.

I thought about this for a long time before I finally understood that I was missing an important point.

It's not about the technology itself. It's about how we USE technology to help us meet the goals of the Tai Chi for Health Institute. It's about how we USE technology to empower people to better health and wellness. It's about how we USE technology to connect with each other, to learn, to teach, and to empower.

Let's talk about learning. Dr. Lam has worked very hard to promote medical studies to show that the Tai Chi Health program is an evidence-based program with proven benefits. He sends out a monthly newsletter where he summarizes progress in this important effort. That is very simple and effective technology. He has articles about how people overcome obstacles to improve their health and the health of others. You can also learn about upcoming workshops where you can learn about tai chi and learn about teaching tai chi.

Did you know that he has a Facebook page, too. And a Twitter account. Ask him a question online. He will answer.

The US-based Tai Chi for Health Community has a Facebook page, too. We share news articles so we can all learn about recent medical studies of tai chi, and we share stories and pictures of local events. This is all to help us learn. We also have a quarterly newsletter for members. I asked Jim to share this in my introduction. The newsletter is full of information to help you learn. It's one of the benefits of joining the Tai Chi for Health Community.

Let's talk about teaching. All social media include a method to share news. On Facebook it's called Share. On Twitter it's called a Tweet or a Retweet. You can teach others by sharing news with them. I write a blog about tai chi. I share it with everyone that is interested. Teachers share schedules and news with their students. We have a regular column in the TCHC newsletter about developing an on-line practice where we feature web pages. This newsletter column is to show you how to create your own online presence.

And most important, let's talk about empowerment. Dr. Lam talked earlier about how fear holds us back. I want to empower you. I want you to get more involved. Get online. If you are already online, I want you to do more. I want you to learn more. I want you to teach more.

I want to see a world full of dedicated teachers that are working together to accomplish our goals. Individually, we are limited. We are powerful when we use technology to work together.

Thank you.
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Note 1. This is a script that I spoke from. It isn't a transcript of what I actually said. I am sure that I drifted away from my notes a little bit.
Note 2. I omitted a little bit from my original script. I had only 5 minutes to deliver this presentation. When I had 1 minute remaining, the MC gave me the signal that the hook was coming. I do not include that omitted material here.
Note 3. This presentation was recorded. If Dr. Lam puts it on YouTube, I'll post an update and link.
Note 4. The June issue of the TCHC is online and available free for everyone. Click here to read it.

© 2014 by Eric Borreson