Social media brings about the possibility for discovery of people like us with interests like ours without regard to who they are. It enables discussion without regard for who is on the other side. We may disagree elsewhere — religion, politics, etc. — but today, here, we come together to discuss what we have in common.
Post World War II musicians, to assure the objectiveness of the judges, auditioned behind a screen. In the 1970’s and ’80s, as a tool to overcome sexual and racial biases, this practice became more commonplace. Today the Internet is our screen and it bridges thousands, hundreds, or maybe just a few miles to connect us in a non-judgmental way. Yesterday I didn’t know you; today I do. I write this blog post – you read it and comment. We have a conversation without bias — and social media makes it happen because by nature it is multi-cultural.
This week One Young World physically assembled a thousand young people from one hundred countries all over the globe to discuss the important issues of today. They came together to discuss global health, political leadership, global business, interfaith dialog, and the environment — the things we have in common. They did this, and I was there. Well, I wasn’t there, but I participated. I was there on twitter as thousands of tweets tagged with #OYW kept me updated in real time. I was there on flickr as photos were uploaded. I friended OneYoungWorld on facebook and I watched Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, John Kerry, and other delegates speak on youtube . I read blog posts of peoples experiences from their own point of view and shared in the experience with comments. I was there and I took part in this event along with millions of people from around the world. I don’t know anything else about them, but we came together to discuss what we have in common — without bias — and social media made it happen.
It doesn’t matter if you are a global, political, or organizational leader or a college student in a dorm room. You could be a professional from The Philippines, a hobbyist from Mexico, or me at my desk. Automatic translations, like google translate , mean you could speak any language and screen readers, like JAWS , mean you might not read at all. The color of your skin does not matter, nor does your physical location, or your views of any topic but the ones we share. You could be in a bed, a wheel chair, or taking part in the 2010 Olympics. I’m sure we have our differences elsewhere but by nature social media is multi-cultural; we don’t know or care who is on the other end.
Columbus made the world round; technology and the Internet (along with Thomas Friedman) made it flat again; and now social media has made it color blind and united us in our interests.