Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Internet is the Conduit of Social Change

Has there been one day in the last week that you haven't accessed the internet? How about the last month or even year?

When I went to college in the early 1990s, the internet was not yet available on my campus' library computers. The only thing plugged in to the computers were the dot matrix printers that were ready to send dozens of students into a litany of profanity that would make The Old Man in A Christmas Story blush. Cell phones were an alien concept to most people and those that did have "mobile" phones had to use two hands to manage the weight.  

Internet Timeline created by Miguel Todaro, www.migueltodaro.com
I only a knew a few people that were majoring in Computer Science, and the INTERNET was just making public appearances on larger campuses. Since those formative years of my life, I don't know if I'm more amazed that the power of the internet has grown so much or so fast. Both are mind boggling considering that was only 20 years ago.

Today, we each use the internet daily for multiple personal or professional purposes. And even if we aren't accessing the internet through our personal or work-related smartphone, tablet, or laptop, you can be certain that you will be impacted by that the person using it beside us.

What each of us says across the internet and the social media universe matters.

Individually

For the individual this may mean connecting with a person, cause, or job that he or she may not otherwise find. Whether it's an argument provoking sentiment on facebook or a well thought out white paper, what we say is potentially awakening a connection in the world you may not know - but should.

Community Sharing

Our daily interactions on the Internet go far beyond connecting individuals. For communities, locally and nationally, the internet gives us the chance to see, learn, and grow from the successes and failures of others.

Worlds Colliding

When we connect and interact as one world, this gives us the chance to “fight for the future" and "boldly go where no man has gone before”. The science fiction of yesterday creates the technologies we use today with the internet as the conduit. Both Science Fiction and Science explore two of humanity's greatest reaches - our inward search to acquire knowledge in the universe as we know it and our outward search to share knowledge to make this world a better place to live.

The world is growing rapidly, and the internet can be our greatest asset to connect. How can we better leverage the internet to make more positive connections?