A Blog for the Blog-lessApril 29, 2009 Leave a comment
I find this video fascinating. My girlfriend showed it to me a few months back as she presented on theology and social media for her graduate program. Aside from the breadth of topics that bloggers can post on, this video gives us an insight on how vital technology, and specifically the Internet, is becoming to our everyday lives.
There is no denying that blogs allow individuals to have a voice. If that voice is read and responded to, communities are created, not limited by physical space. These virtual, content-oriented communities are especially strong in arenas such as Twitter. Twitter is a dynamic and responsive interface for conversation. Blogs have the same ability, though the conversation is not necessarily as seamless as it can be on Twitter. Regardless, the powers of shared thought, understanding and education are alive in these worlds and there exists a great potential to create real action, and even social change.
What I often question is how this will all play out over time, because though blogs are a tool which are not limited by physical space, access to their creation and use is limited. Blogs, and social media overall, are limited by the resources one has at their fingertips (pun somewhat intended), be it a computer, Internet access, electricity or even literacy.
History shows us those with technology often grow at an exponentially greater rate than those without it. So how do we most effectively create sustainable social change with the aid of social media, without further separating ourselves from the majority of the world (which doesn’t have constant access to a computer)?
Hugh Jackman, Australian dreamboat and actor, recently said he wanted to donate $100,000 to charity and asked his Twitter followers who he should donate to. After thousands of suggestions, Jackman said he would donate $50,000 to two different charities, Operation of Hope and Charity:Water. Both are incredible organizations. Most inspiring though is that this a success story on the power social media has to aid in social change. (Credit where it is due, my knowledge of Jackman’s charity donation is again the result of my girlfriend.)
Today we can communicate in ways rarely dreamed of five years ago. To have a voice, to contribute to conversation, to act, are all invaluable to the promotion of justice in our world. From Iran to Twitter, our need to bridge the gaps has never been more pressing, and our potential to create sustainable social change has never been so great.
Thanks so much Santi, the video is inspiring! I appreciate your grappling with these questions. I think part of the answer is found in thinking of virtual worlds as we would think of a computer model for say, a rocket. First we build the rocket on the computer, test all sorts of things, and then we build it in the physical world. I think the interactions we are witnessing online are not only about what is possible online but about what now becomes possible in the physical world once having been modeled online.
What are the lessons about voice, about community’s of interest, about sharing information, about self-organizing systems, about collective intelligence, about gift economies, etc, etc, that are now making themselves evident online so that we can apply them in the physical world as well?
Very interesting post. I have questions about how all of this will play out in terms of channels becoming filled to overflowing with communication, and then what this does to tone down or lose certain voices. I just met with a staff person of an operating foundation who is looking to create, yes, a network for folk interested in sustainable land use and town planning. One of his challenges is to create a network that stands out from others to draw people and at the same time not create a space where people are bowled over by content or the crowd and therefore run away. This will sort itself out over time, and yet we know that often those who get heard are those with the most, yes, power. Not that power is bad. Just what kind of power, right?
Excellent, poignant, post, Santiago, and oh so finely written. I want to hear your voice more! And the video — wow. Its amazing what can be communicated in barely 2 minutes if effectively done. Thanks for sharing.