I have read blogs and blogs and more blogs, even before this class. However, this one to me personally was the best one I’ve come across. It doesn’t really discuss using tools and taking classes or teaching really…just the reality of how our new found ways of technology to communicate impacts humanity. The blog is called “Are online social networks a net gain for humanity?” by Gardner Campbell. I suggest that everyone read it.
In the post, Gardner talks about how he was asked to give his insight about a blog that was posted praising the massacre at Ft. Hood. His response:
“My answer in the interview was that the question about online social networks was really a question about civilization. Whenever people communicate or collaborate, the potential for good or ill is magnified. The Internet magnifies the magnification exponentially, yes, and the difference in degree may yield a difference in kind, but at bottom we’re still dealing with people and culture and communication.”
Pretty powerful answer if you ask me. Before the internet one would have to stay up late to watch the news, listen to the radio, or read it in the newspaper the following day. Now, the news is told as the story unfolds and everyone has a story, an opinion, or conspiracy.
Gardner goes on to discuss the second time he was asked about the increasing amount of communication out there. I thought the question this time around was really great. It was:
“Is it a good thing that with these tools we expose so much more of ourselves to so many more folks? Who knows?”
Gardner’s answer..even better. He talks about how many people believe we are going to end up being a “global village”. We will go back to knowing everything about everyone just as people in a village or even small town do. The he quotes John Donne who said:
“..in Paradise we will be like books in a library “lying open to each other,” reading each other into being in a kind of infinite fellowship.”
How interesting is that? At the same time, we’re somewhat there with the use of social networking. We can blog our thoughts for others to read that we don’t know, but probably share the same beliefs as. On things like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace we have the ability to keep in touch no matter where in the world we are. Some may ask “Why not just pick up the phone and call?” Well, my answer is: I don’t always have to time to call. I don’t know if the other person is busy or home or anything else. By using these sites I can send messages, comment on photos, and sort of be a part of their life.
My most favorite thing of the entire post is at the very end in bold lettering (I’m not emotional, but I am very close to a lot of people in my life..so this brought tears to my eyes):
“But I’m also optimistic because we experience so little of each other in a lifetime. Even with loved ones, we have very little time and opportunity for deep communion. If there’s a way to transcend time and space and the busyness of each day and know each other in greater depth, breadth, or both, I’m willing to give that a try and see where it leads.”
We should feel thankful to have the communications we have. There are of course those who use it for the wrong reasons, but when you look at the bigger picture you can see that it has brought most of us closer together. The businessman who has to leave his family for a meeting in another state can video conference with his kids and tell them goodnight. The solider in the middle of a war zone can walk in a tent and look on a screen to see his wife and newborn baby that he wasn’t there for the birth of and they can see him. He can also talk to them. Other soldiers can go in and see their families and friends. It means a lot. Not everyone had that opportunity nor does everyone have that opportunity now. We can work together on a global level to cure diseases with little constraint on time. There will always be chaos in this world, but maybe with even better technology communication we can try to contain it and enjoy the good people in the world more.