Albert Einstein is quoted, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
Technology has enhanced our ability to interact with each other forming communities and connections around the world. What we need to be cautious of is replacing our connection with others with the use of technology. How we are sharing and what we are sharing is defining our existence in our digital world, but what are we doing with this shared information and new ideas? How are we using our interactions to better connect us in our physical tangible lives.
Social networking is allowing us to create profiles, connect with others, and to create communities of shared interests. A critical component of social networking is the public display of information (Ellison, 2007). With this public display of who we are and our web of connections there is a sense of empowerment that could be the catalyst for social change. We come together as collective groups and advocate for change and the push of social movements. “We can regard social movements as networks of relationships which connect informally – i.e., without procedural norms or formal organizational binding a multiplicity of individuals and organizations, who share a distinctive collective identity,and interact around conflictual issues (Diani, 1992). The ability to post music, video, text in forums globally can raise awareness and support that can significantly impact how we live in this global community. The rise of social media in the 21st century has grown from connecting millions to billions (Shirky, 2011). We connect through text messages, photo sharing, social networking and e-mail but the impact of these connections is still being researched and understood.
We all witnessed the rise and fall of KONY 2012 and the empowering statements like, “We’re living in a new world. A Facebook world in which 750 million people are sharing ideas. Not thinking in borders. It’s a global community, bigger than U.S (Wing-Kosner, 2012).” What are we sharing, and are we connecting? While technology is an everyday part of how we connect, it should not be the everything of connections. Media shapes our perceptions, but we must be physically present in the real world, in our neighborhoods and communities. We need to remain true to who we are and be present to tell our stories. We can connect the physical to the digital. We are faces and personalities behind posts. If we forget the human being behind the text or photo, we miss the point of technology as a tool to connect and make a difference.
Diani, M. (1992). The concept of social movement. The Sociological Review, 40(1), 1-25.
Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230.
Shirky, C. (2011). Political Power of Social Media-Technology, the Public Sphere Sphere, and Political Change, The. Foreign Aff., 90, 28.
Wing-Kosner, A. (2012). 12 Lessons from Kony 2012 from social media power users. Forbes.Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/03/09/12-lessons-from-kony-2012-from-social-media-power-users/