Five for Friday: Five ways YOU can affect your surroundings

1. Keep the travel industry on its toes.

Did you know that the airlines, hoteliers and other business that make up the travel industry check blogs to see what you think of their services? It’s true, and recently some businesses are changing their practices in response to negative reviews that appear online. So, next time you travel, be sure to let people know if you have a great experience… or a horrible one.
Check out this CNN article for more information.


2. Keep ANYONE on their toes… or just make them angry.

delfinatee.jpgIn addition to blogging your opinions about your most recent vacation, you can also rate and review pretty much any business in your local community via websites like While some businesses become quite upset when they receive negative reviews from yelp users, Pizzaria Delfina in San Francisco has ‘taken back’ the insults and hurled them right back at their customers in a comedic use of irony.
More on Yelp and sites like it here.

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You Hired Barack Obama; Now It’s Time to Manage Him

Addendum! One final entry for the Youth Media Blog-a-Thon on “regime change.

PrimaryHCLogo_web.jpgIf there was any question about young people’s power to change the world, the 2008 presidential election answered it. Beyond the fact that 66% of young voters (18-29) voted for Obama, the real impact was on the primaries. Obama consistently outpaced Hillary Clinton among the younger age groups. When you consider the razor-thin margin by which he won, you can state with certainty that if it wasn’t for young voters, there would have been a Clinton vs. McCain general election. “Yes We Can” is only true because so many young voters can say “Yes We Did.”

For a nonpartisan organization like HeadCount (, the actual outcome of the election is not our concern. But the facts are the facts, and it can’t be ignored that the very demographic we targeted for voter registration are the ones who skewed strongest toward the candidate who won. It means our work really does have political impact, and that young people really have become a key voting bloc.

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Change vs. Change

This post is part of a series for the Youth Media Blog-a-Thon on the topic of “regime change.”obama-08-sticker.jpgThe year 2008 taught American youth that change was something we could believe in, but is it something we can still define?  The word change gained popularity quickly, and like anything else, lost its grounding.  While change had the ability to cross racial and generational lines, it did so like a chameleon, shifting forms and definitions to fit the situation.  Every American had their own ideas as to what the “new America” would look like and as to what Obama could do for their community.  Change grew to be a nebulous cloud filled with hype, hope, and determination that engulfed the country and eventually the White House.  

Even with these affective results, I think we need to bring change back to its roots. We’ve been using change as a noun, “the replacing of one thing for another–substitution”, but perhaps we should see it as a verb, “to cause to be different.”  Change as a verb isn’t as popular for the sole fact that it needs an actor: a person to assume responsibility for initiating and sustaining its course.

It’s my belief that American youth should not only assume responsibility, but are already on the path for, adopting change (v). In this age of information, majorities of us are well-informed on various issues and will “spread the word” to others. Yet, we can’t let dissemination and self-education become our sole definitions of activism, and our only attempts at change (n). The time has come for our generation to make a difference and play a physical role in reshaping our country starting with our communities.

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