The place of Social Media in a Sustainable future


The Source of The Interrogation

I was once asked to situate the position of Social Media in a sustainable world. What place would it take? What impact? How relevant? What was the toll of having more than 2 billion people connected in a smaller-made wired world?

It took me hours, days to figure that out, even though I had thought, initially, that the answers were as obvious as eyes on a face!

Wisdom and human language count!

Anneloes Smitsman

Kimberly King

But then came the Mauritian Global Dialogues initiative! Came Anneloes Smitsman and Kimberly King, two passion-driven ladies who had a human and wise language in the middle of the Techno Babel.

And  after all, what if Social Media was only about plain true, trusted human relationship catalyzed by technology?

Getting back to basics seemed to be the bottom line, but I wasn’t confident about leaving my wallet for barter or leaving the piezzo-electric gas cooker for splint stones… So were the next 2 Billion human beings behind me…  I only guessed!

Then the angle popped up

How to link Social Media with a sustainable world? How to make it sound relevant, as way of action, apart from Youtube videos, Facebook posts and comments, Twitter shortcodes or Pins on a wall at Pinterest?
Earned me the start of a nightmare, but with some (Smitsman and King driven) inspired thinking, something came up!

I had that anecdotal question!

And what if the Internet never existed?

Only then, my eyes opened on how Social Media participates at making the world a sustainable place. Can you believe it? Social Media has endless inherent possibilities… Just needed to know how to envisage and position it!

First the facts

  • 2.3 billion people connected
    The perfect user base to deliver messages.
  • +550 Million websites and growing…
    The perfect Information library and resource platforms to shout out our desire for The Future We Want.
  • Almost  1 Billion Facebook accounts regularly sharing 30 Billion pieces of content
    The most ideal platform for exchanges, interactions and collective learning.
  • More than 92 billion page views each month on YouTube
    Free uncontrolled TV channels for broadcasting motivational messages
  • 100,000 Tweets every minute
    The perfect immediate messaging network to rally instantly around causes.

Social Media has superseded the traditional ways of connecting people, of working, of doing business and of acquiring knowledge. It really looks like life has become much easier since the revolutionary landing of Mark Zuckerberg‘s Facebook. What initially was an Alumni connecting tool has become a global way of life, an almost universal way to share Ideas, states of mind and content.

Without noise, we are moving there… Just need focus now

  • Where traditional sectors had been in pain to create employment, Facebook created 450,000 jobs in the US only and we are still not talking about indirect side of it,
  • In fact for each job it renders obsolete, the Internet creates 2.6 new ones. For you to have a measurable idea of what this represents, think of the Internet jobs contributing 2.3 trillion USD to the G-20 Countries. Almost the GDP of an advanced country like Italy.
  • When people in the US would be spending 6.3 Trillion Dollars on postage and paper for traditional letters that can sometimes take a lifetime to reach their destination, emails cost almost nothing and 100% sure to reach the addressee. They do not need transportation, they do not pollute and sending them is almost free.
  • Where we would normally pay 1200 USD for a complete set of Brittanica Encyclopedia, we have  unlimited and free access to Wikipedia. The cost of online content being close to Zero, imagine the number of 1200 USD saved, the amount of paper and by extension the number of trees, saved.
  • The World has grown smaller, at least in terms of relationships. While social interaction were usually benchmarked as per the 6 degrees of separation, the Internet has reduced that to 3.74, meaning that between you and a total stranger, would lie only 4 persons who you know by a way or another. Before there would have been 6 of them. So to say, Social Media has brought people even closer and with it came new ways to communicate.
  • In less than no time, Twitter became the preferred way to communicate for hi-profile Politicians  like Obama, Sarkozy, Hollande and showbiz People, Bieber, Gaga and more.
  • Furthermore, the blue bird and the whale have been so instrumental in the major historical shifts that happened during the past decade. Where we would taken 20 yrs to oust a dictator with heavy artillery and high death toll, this is being done via Social Media Platforms within months, not to say days and on many occasions without a single blood drop.

For example: It took 4 months for the Berlin wall to fall, but only one week for 90000 Egyptians to organise their revolution and 18 days to oust Moubarak, after 30 years’ dictatorship.
And then there are those tens of thousands of protesters who rallied all over the world around the OCCUPY thematic, with unprecedented scenes in New York, with Occupy Wall Street, and in 900 other cities.

Concluding

Virtual Socializing allows constant brainstorming and constitutes a pool where lies an infinite amount of potential solutions. Social Media can be used to bridge the gap between people and social-consciousness.

Give the people the necessary firepower and he will be ready to fight for a common ideal.

It is about getting the message through to the widest base while a sustainable world is a world where awareness and consciousness rule. Therefore Social Media’s mission in a sustainable world is that of a transmitting relay that would be used to empower the grassroots and bring accountability to those who hold responsible seats. These two elements being core to the sustainable world.

So yes, if Social Media is about connecting in optimal ways using the best of what technology offers, then it can have its place in a sustainable world and play an essential role in disseminating knowledge, information, motivation and rallying shout-outs. But It won’t be of any use, if we do not learn to use it in an efficient way.

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