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“Taikod” Talks to TIG: An Interview with Terri Willard Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by C. Gudz, Canada Jul 27, 2005
Child & Youth Rights   Interviews
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“Taikod” Talks to TIG: An Interview with Terri Willard (If not already selected, please choose "All" in the Words Each page dropdown box and click view to activate language translations)

Interviews available in: Português | русский | Español | عربي | Français

Profile: Terri Willard
Active Rank #8
Date Joined: 2001-07-27
Country: Canada
Age: 34
Did You Know? : Terri has accumulated over 325 Updates, 424 discussion posts, has added 80 events, and is currently the VP of TakingITGlobal’s board of directors

CG: Terri, you are one of the longest standing and active TIG members in the history of the organization. Then in May of 2004, you became the Vice-present of our board of directors. Can you tell us how you became so involved and how you have sustained an interest in the TakingITGlobal community?

TW: I actually met Jen in Malaysia at the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) 2000 conference when TIG was just an idea in a few people's minds. I was impressed with her enthusiasm for supporting other young people in development using technology to help break down barriers.

In 2001, I did a quick review of youth-led technology programs and discovered that of the ones we had identified in 2000, TIG was one of the few that had not only survived a year but grew and thrived. At that point, I fell in love with Mike's [Michael Furdyk] coding and the technical elegance of the site. I was moderating a discussion group at the time of sustainable development Web managers and I kept using TIG as an example of beautiful content management systems and enabling communities to form.

I originally promised myself that I wouldn't post on TIG since I was already over 30... I wanted to leave it as a space for youth to communicate with each other. But, everyone was just so bloody INTERESTING I couldn't help myself. Then, the whole whirlwind of Youth Creating Digital Opportunities (YCDO) started and I had a legitimate excuse to be using the TIG platform on a daily basis to try to help catalyze young people around WSIS and using ICT for development in their own countries.

CG: That makes sense…

TW: Over time, my use of the site has changed many times. Sometimes it's more personal staying in touch with friends; sometimes it's doing big projects like YCDO; sometimes I use it as my own personal knowledge management system (e.g. conference reviews and blogs).

CG: Ah! Which brings me to my next question! You have more updates (TIGblogs) than any other member at TakingITGlobal, but you also seem to have so much on the go. How do you make the time for your TIGblog and why is it important to you?

TW: Because I have so many things on the go, I tend to forget a lot. But, if I blog it on TIG, I know I can always go back and find it there. Call it an extended memory for me...if it helps others to find new information as well, so much the better!

CG: You know, something you said earlier makes me want to ask you this. At 34, by many people’s standards, you would not be considered ‘youth.’ How would you define youth?

TW: I think I've lived too long in Canada - I tend to define it as 18-30 - the group targeted by the Canadian Youth Employment Strategy. Beyond that though, it has to do more with a phase of life...It's the point where you know and care enough to make a difference, but before you get swamped with the responsibilities of adulthood (house, kids, family, etc). The ages will differ in various countries and contexts.

CG: I like that definition. It's very straightforward

TW: But, here are a few good things about being an older member of TIG. I wrestle with it sometimes, but I see a good chunk of my role in the community as a mediating/moderating influence. TIG members are very willing and able to jump into discussions on some very controversial issues - particularly those related to religion and human rights.

CG: Well, you are also a very active member on TIG’s discussion boards. As you know, sometimes discussions get heated, particularly on national, religious or social issues. What topics do you participate in most, and how do you deal with comments that upset you?

TW: A couple of things...

1) I try to step back and find other information online to inform the discussion from a variety of perspectives.

2) When it might be helpful, I try to share personal experiences which might illuminate discussions...or at least give them human faces.

3) I try to nudge people towards respecting other's opinions... an honest disagreement is EXTREMELY useful in helping expand all of our understandings of a topic

As for dealing with comments that upset me? I turn the computer off, go for a walk, talk to friends, then come back and try to deal with it constructively. The hardest thing on the boards is that there are so many different communication styles stemming from a wide variety of cultures and levels of comfort with English or whichever language is being used at the time.

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C. Gudz

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catherine Akubueze | Sep 20th, 2005
You got the right words!

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