Phew, finally had some time to think about the event from the other night. I think I needed some distance to think more critically about what all I saw and experienced. That, and I wanted my reflections to be relevant to the overall theme of the site.
Anyway, the Giraffe Heroes project was started over twenty years ago as a means of recognizing heroes in our midsts. No, these are not the types of heroes you'd necessarily see on the local evening news, but rather these tend to be people all over the world doing bigger things. It is not the intent to demean the efforts of the every day heroes, but I think they tend to highlight those who go way above and beyond what all heroes do.
The philosophy of this group is nothing new, and as they mentioned, it harks back to the notion of storytelling and myth building. Just about every culture has them, and this organization wants to highlight our modern day heroes and myth makers in hopes of inspiring others to act.
Sound familiar? It should. To me, this is not so different from an online community highlighting their steller community members. It's part modelling the way for others in the community, part user recognition, part furthering the mission of the organization (if done well). While their stories were no doubt inspiring (indeed, I used a few of these stories as examples the other day at work), I must say the technique is rather familar and fairly typical to strategies in online communities.
It is possible that I'm oversimplifying. They do afterall, profile giraffes widely through multiple sources of media (print, radio, web, tv), and they build toolkits that help people become giraffes in their own community. In one sense, the Giraffe Project takes the notion of member recognition and expands it ten fold. There certainly is something to be said about that.
Sorry if I don't sound ultra-excited about the experience. It was a pleasant event, afterall. I think that has something to do with my expectations of wanting to be wowed, and I left with a just a mini woohoo. Much of what I heard was the same -- find your passion, doing something meaningful and all that. I *think* I'm close to honing in on what makes me passionate. Now it's a matter of fine tuning, getting some sort of plan and the like.