hi, it's Raffi, here to take your questions at the top of the hour: 11am PST / 2pm EST...for 90 minutes, i'll take your questions on my new book #lightwebdarkweb about social media reform: • there's a critical need to reform social media: for safety, intelligence, and sustainability. the Internet has a light side and a dark side. by acting to subdue the worst of the 'darkweb' we can hope to optimize what we love about the 'lightweb'—for all users.

my tweet this morning:

read the book's Preface here:

Comments: 188 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

Ferbtastic81 karma

Just wanted to say that Banana-phone is still one of my favorite songs to sing along with. You are amazing.

Raffi_RC78 karma

ring ring ring : ))

Frajer31 karma

I feel like people who listened to you as kids are now playing your music to their own kids, have you found that?

Raffi_RC52 karma

yes, "beluga grads" now share my music with their own kids. love it!

Briamah29 karma

Raffi... WOW... I just called my daughter who is a mom now and I asked her to guess who is on Reddit doing an IAMA. At first she guessed Michelle Obama then the Heckler at her speech. Then I said.

Think of your childhood.

And she said Raffi???

I laughed and said she was correct.

She told me then that she was just watching your concert with her children. Who are almost 10 and 3 yesterday.

She has had it for years..

I (we) haved loved your concerts, songs and words forever.

This is Just a THANK YOU.

PS at her house and mine were all dancing round and round.

Raffi_RC20 karma

sweet : ))

SnookSnook24 karma

Interested in your musical career- why did you decide to focus it toward children?

Raffi_RC49 karma

kids deserve singable songs, music can be a wonderful form of expression and also make learning fun.

Raffi_RC7 karma

the full story is in my autobiography, The Life Of A Children's Troubadour

Super_Dork_4215 karma

I owe a large part of the happiness in my childhood to you. Thank you for being so awesome back then.

  • What have you been up to since then?
  • Was there a song that you wrote that never got published (I think that's the word for it) because of one reason or another, but that you wish had made it?
  • Have you ever thought about making newer songs that are slightly more grown up like the aquabats used to do before they chose to go into childrens TV?

Thanks for doing this AMA, and for all the joy you brought to the whole family.

Raffi_RC11 karma

sweet, thanks : )) i've got 2 recent CDs for older ears: Resisto Dancing, and Communion. and more...

Worfrat112 karma


Raffi_RC27 karma

cuz it rymes!

asegal13612 karma

Hello Raffi, thanks so much for doing this AMA. Sorry I am late to the party. I wanted to thank you for your music as my mom played it for me when I was little and now both of us as teachers have used it in our classrooms. I have several questions:

  1. I was curious, I am a fellow Canadian but was wondering if your Armenian/Egyptian heritage has influenced your career and if so how?

  2. I understand some of your earlier work was aimed at adults, have you considered writing new music for us older folk?

  3. Of all the songs you recorded, are there any that really stand out? I am particularly found of Apples and Bananas and Joshua Giraffe.

  4. Lastly, I was quite surprised to see you had become environmentally active. What led you down that path eventually working with David Suzuki?

Thanks again.

Raffi_RC10 karma

hi! 1. yes. how? i wrote about this in my autobiography, The Life of a Children's Troubadour. 2. check out my motivational songs here: 3. so many i love, hard to pick. 4. while in Vancouver, i used to live around the corner from the Suzukis. in '89 i took his Nature challange quiz & did well. he impressed me in '89 when he referred to global warming as "a matter of survival." he's right. i was a founding donor to his foundation.

forwardseat10 karma

So way back in the dark ages, I used to play your songs and sing them at the top of my lungs over and over, as it was about the only thing that would keep one of my much younger brothers calm and happy. Fast forward twenty years, now I'm a mom, and the first day I drove littleun to daycare, to keep him happy I set my Pandora station to "raffi" - what I did not anticipate was exactly how happy that would make ME. I am not ashamed to say I often listen to Raffi-Station even when kiddo is not in the car with me, because between the tunes and the memories it often makes me smile. Thanks for all the joy!

So, um, some questions:

Are there any songs that you've recorded that really drive you nuts, like you want to stab your ears out with a rusty fork if you hear (or sing) them just one more time? I've always wondered this about musicians who take on kids' music - a lot of it is wonderful and fun, but every once in a while...

And do you have any weird fan stories? I like to imagine that you've had run ins with insane stalker moms or something.

And since you got me to go look at your book, was there a specific incident that got you thinking about the social media issue?

Raffi_RC11 karma

in answer to your last Q, the Amanda Todd teen suicide (Oct 2012) is what sparked my book #lightwebdarkweb

Seamitch519 karma

What are your biggest concerns about children's entertainment today?

Raffi_RC40 karma

direct marketing & advertising to kids: it's unethical, should be illegal. it's wrong to profit from the innocence of the young.

ephantmon9 karma

While you clearly have honorable intentions, how is this proposal of "regulating social media" any different than any other form of censorship?

Raffi_RC10 karma

not about censorship. virtual community behaviours have real world impacts. some regulation needed. young user safety is paramount.

Turbodong9 karma

My parents still have your tapes.

Raffi_RC18 karma

do they still have a cassette player...

forwardseat8 karma

Oh, and any chance of a musical collaboration with John Lithgow? I feel like a mashup of Joshua Giraffe and I'm a Manatee would make my life.

Raffi_RC6 karma


bourbonandbranch8 karma

Just seeing your name will have me humming "You brush your teeth ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch" for the next week now. Do you ever get your own songs stuck in your head for days on end?

Raffi_RC6 karma

hi : )) • that happens only when i'm recording.

Bac0nLegs7 karma

Oh my goodness, Raffi!! Your songs were a HUGE part of my childhood. My mom has a recording of me singing one of your songs (Baby Beluga specifically)when I was a baby, and I ended up getting really frustrated because I couldn't remember the words so I ended up screaming until the song progressed to a part I could remember.

I'm 23 years old right now and I still listen to your songs. Thank you for many happy memories!

Raffi_RC12 karma

my pleasure! you are among a 10-50 million pod of beluga grads : ))

Echoscurvydog6 karma

I still have your cassette tapes, and have a decent number of your albums on mp3 too! My mom and I had our ringtones set to banana phone for a while too, thanks for being such a big part of my childhood!

Raffi_RC7 karma

: ))

ohmyiv6 karma

Hi Raffi,

As a member of the Global Alliance against Minor Exploitation on Facebook, do you have suggestions or steps for people to take to get social media providers to take accountability for what they allow on their sites? (Outside of advert boycotts and petitions.)

Thanks for being here.

Global Alliance Against Minor Exploitation page:

Raffi_RC3 karma

hi, on sign the Open Letter to Facebook, urge "safety by design" for young user security. and how's this: demand FB hire a million new human moderators to more effectively patrol its 1 billion user community. also, required online ID verification may be useful.

Broncos_Fan6 karma

As the father of an 8 month old who adores music, I've been thinking about getting him one of your albums lately to see how he likes it. You were a bit before my time though so I'm sorry to say I'm not familiar with your discography. Any suggestions on a favorite album of yours or the best to start him off on?

Raffi_RC6 karma

Singable Songs for the Very Young, and Quiet Time.

fuzzymae4 karma

Wow, I had no idea there was a word for me -- "beluga grad".

I used to dance to your tapes in my parents' basement, and my dad played your songs on his guitar. Twenty-some years later I'm singing Baby Beluga to my cat. Just wanted to say thanks for my childhood.

Raffi_RC3 karma

: ))

badtooth4 karma

I read the summary on your website, but I am still wondering what kind of regulations you are proposing? (I also have to add that Baby Beluga is a magic song that would immediately make my son stop crying and start smiling from when he was a newborn on!)

Raffi_RC6 karma

we need FB & other social media platforms to make systemic changes to upgrade young user safety. visit & sign the Open Letter to FB, demand safety by design.

moondog553 karma

Raffi, thank you for providing so much of the happy music from my childhood. A lot of time I spent in the car with my family as a kid was accompanied by your music tapes.

On a more serious note, what advice would you like to give parents about monitoring their children's internet and social media use? Also, would you say that our current reliance on social media is harming our in-person social abilities?

Raffi_RC7 karma

my pleasure : )) • parents: restrict your kids' screen time, at bedtime move all devices out of bedrooms and to the kitchen. for kids under 7, no InfoTech. re smartphones, wait until 16. learn about privacy settings, talk to your kids about the need to protect safety & use SM with respect.

scoutycat3 karma

What do kids need to know most about the internet?

Raffi_RC10 karma

they can learn that manners count both online and in the real world. how we behave online has real world impacts. we can use the Internet for good, that's the Lightweb. yet a grounding in the real world is all important as kids grow up.

Raffi_RC2 karma

have you read the Preface to my book? Huffington Post:

ehobax2 karma

You were in Washington DC for a show in May. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bring my son who sings all your songs all day long. When do you think you'll be back in the area for a concert or on the road in general?

Raffi_RC2 karma

dunno. soon, i hope

DaftMonk2 karma

If you could get everyone to make a few simple changes in their lives that would bring us closer to the sustainable and peaceful world you advocate for, what changes would you suggest?

Raffi_RC6 karma

it's all about "respecting Earth & Child." as much as possible, choose local products with benign enviro impacts, favour organic (or pesticide-free) foods, wear hemp & organic threads (cotton, bamboo), be as consciously aware of personal choices as possible. read books: The Ecology of Commerce, and Child Honouring: How To Turn This World Around. raise children wth respectful love. in various ways strive to co-create a culture of repsect.

tookourjobs4202 karma

What has been the most rewarding experience working with children in your career so far?

Raffi_RC9 karma

children's pure love & joy, the fun that my music seems to offer, the trust of millions who've embraced me as a family friend : ))

Rango_992 karma

How do you feel about social media being accessed by large corporations ? and that personal information is being sold between networks of these corporations ?

Raffi_RC4 karma

in my book i say that it caught all of us off guard to learn about data mining of our posts & preferences. i wish that from the start we'd been offered a "no ads, no data mining" choice.

omni272 karma

what is it like starting to write a new book? and how do you gain an audience for your first one?

Raffi_RC4 karma

i love book writing, thoug it's an intense labour of love. i wrote #lightwebdarkweb in response to the Amanda Todd teen suicide. the audience will form in response to the book, and with your help : )

Briamah1 karma

I never did ask a question. I wondered how you felt about others who shared your gift for reaching out to children as well as adults through music. In particular Ella Jenkins.

I will get your book... The web has a dark side and there is a critical need to keep a positive force on the internet.

But often those who seek to suppress the dark are the dark as well.

How do you find the balance?

Raffi_RC2 karma

just as in real life, online you can choose to stay away from negative forces. don't give the darkweb your energy. accentuate the Lightweb. my book has a number of recommendations, especially for parents.

Raffi_RC1 karma

thanks everyone for your questions. i invite you to follow me on Twitter: @Raffi_RC. soon there'll be a tweet-up with #lightwebdarkweb hashtag. on, co-sign the Open Letter To Facebook. stay grounded in the Lightweb. stay tuned! love to all, Raffi.

read more on Lightweb Darkweb here: