Hello world!

19 Aug

So today I am at the beginning of a year long journey, my year at the Havard Kennedy School of Government mid-career program.  I fully expect to emerge on the other side, the end of next May, as a changed person, a more dynamic and versatile leader, and a more committed and effective public servant.  It is difficult to articulate the anticipation, for beginning tomorrow I realize a long time dream, having the privilege of spending the next year at Harvard’s KSG being exposed to the leading thinkers and achievers in government and public service (the world-class faculty, Fellows, Guest speakers, etc.)  and just as importantly, sharing this year with fellow mid-career students from around the U.S. and from around the world, accomplished achievers in the public service arena in thier own right.   I write this the evening before my year begins and I already know sleep will not come easily tonight.

Well, how does a State Employee with 4 kids possible afford to attend the Harvard Kennedy School mid-career program?   Though I did not literally win the lottery, I do feel like I won life’s lottery.  If I did not have the extreme good fortune of winning the 2012 Governor Robert F. Bradford Fellowship  (I look forward to sharing more about this wonderful program that every manager in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should be aware of in a future post) it would not be possible for me to attend.

Although I am admittedly a novice blogger, I have several goals in starting this venture.  First, I have been increasingly both intrigued and astonished by social media’s exponential growth.   If you are in my general age bracket, you, like me, may not have initially embraced the first iterations of MySpace, FB, Twitter, Flicker, and the like.  Although I am deeply involved in technology in my profession, I was reluctant to dabble my toes in this water.  I was a skeptic;  I valued my privacy and didn’t feel the need to post about every passing notion and activity.   But perhaps, also like me, at some point you felt compelled to jump in and see what it is all about, determine for yourself if and how you should participate in the phenomenon

When I really began to take notice, and realized I clearly had missed the significance of social media’s impact was seeing the rise of social media in tandem with globalization, and how suddenly anyone with a smart phone and a data plan could participate in and even affect history as it was happening, in realtime, the examples are plentiful, The earthquake in Haitii, the nuclear catastrophe in Japan, the Arab Spring. you name it.  But even still, I honestly didn’t really start to think about becoming deeply engaged myself until I sat in on one of Nicco Mele’s class, Media, Politics, and Power in the Digital Age, at an open house at Harvard KSG last fall.    It was then I realized I was missing the point, and had missed some of the questions I needed to be asking, such as, ‘What long term impact is social media having on our society’? and  ‘What are the forces governing the boundaries and ethos of the internet and social media’, what ‘will social media look like in 5 years, in 10 years’?  and most personally for me, ‘is government effectively participating in this phenomenon?’, and if not ‘what should and can government do better in this space to better engage with the citizens we serve?’   It is certainly easier to pose the questions than to determine the answers but I do know this, if you want to learn to swim you have to dive into the pool.   It is my hope that I at least learn to tread water, and I am counting on your help to keep me from drowning!

Most importantly this blog is for you, anyone committed to public service, or in some way making this world a more just, peaceful, or liveable community.  Based on countless discussions I have had with local Harvard KSG alum, I have learned that one of the best parts about attending the Kennedy School of Government is the conversations you get to have with the faculty that work here and professionals that attend here.   Conversations with the some of the most accomplished leaders in public policy today who spend a lot of time talking, writing and thinking about the biggest challenges facing today’s leaders.   It is my intention to extend these conversations – I have yet to have; and introduce fascinating people  I have yet to meet, into this space.   I have not yet worked out exactly how this will work, but I do hope to create a forum of lively, thoughtful and relevant discourse by sharing with you all some sense of the unique experiences – that I hope to have here at Harvard’s KSG.

So, this year promises to be a fascinating journey – I invite you along for the ride!

Note: “This opinions are solely those of the writer and do not represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.    Additionally,  along those lines, I will not be directly commenting on topics in this forum about specific issues, individuals or policy’s that I or my agency are directly involved with, as there are other more effective ways to make one’s voice heard if that is one’s intent.

Additional Note:  Although this posted in mid-august, thiis post was 95% completed the night before beginning the Summer Session for Harvard KSG mid-careers on July 16th.  Besides becoming oriented at Harvard, I have been going through an even more rigorous learning curve in learing how to obtain and set up a basic blog site.  I admit to fine tuning a bit of the language but did want to maintain the sense of anticipation and the unknown I felt the night before beginning.   Please feel free to provide gentle guidance.   In the future, I will be posting in real-time.

13 Responses to “Hello world!”

  1. Michelle Hood August 20, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Yay! I’ll be following your blog! I too started a blog as a way to “peak behind the curtain” for the others who may never get this opportunity. I’ll see you in Nicco’s class this fall…I hope!

    • chrisvibe August 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      looking forward to Nicco’s class and keeping up with your blog as well, good for you!

  2. Renee August 20, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    Yeah Chris! Well written and best wishes. I’ll be your cheerleader along with your family.
    You’ll make a positive difference in our world.

    • David Prendergast August 20, 2012 at 2:38 am #

      This made great reading Chris! I will be following it.

  3. Joe Tannian August 20, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Have a great year! I am excited for you and hope to follow along.

  4. Sandy Rabb August 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    The importance of social media is already showing itself to be a most powerful and effective tool for ANY government; as evidence, what has happened in Egypt and in Libya. i’m excited for you!! it WILL be an exciting journey for you!!

    • chrisvibe August 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Sandy – you have been ahead of the times in the social media department – I have leaned on your experience many times.

  5. Ariel Dora Stern August 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I look forward to following your writing & staying in touch this year Chris!

  6. Jack Tannian dado August 22, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Chris, I am excited and proud of you. I lookforward to the year long adventure!

  7. chrisvibe August 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Thank you all for your encouragement – it means a lot to a novice just getting started believe me! Stay tuned for 2nd installment!

  8. Paul C August 23, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    I feel like I’ve just read the first chapter of a book I don’t want to put down!
    Chris, your initiative in taking on this challenge is admirable. I can feel your excitement and awe in reading your first installment and will be incredibly interested in following this unique journey.

  9. Kathleen August 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Wow, what an amazing expansive experience and opportunity.

    I feel fortunate to be reading your blog, and I appreciate the opportunity to grow along with you while reading your posts, and appreciate such a positive outlook on the future. Current times can leave one with teatering optimism.
    I am proud to call you my brother, and admire the way you are embracing this wonderful experience and sharing it with all of us.

  10. jesse sheehan August 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    a fascinating read and what a tremendous experience. I am sure you will excel and am very happy and proud to have you as my uncle ! kudos !

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