Years ago I was working with some people on the other side of the world.
This was before the Internet really existed and there were direct login is to Bulletin boards. It was less expensive than a phone however took an age and an eon to get any connectivity or response from others.
First there was the dial up had to happen to make a connection in the first place, screech, skreek,crackle screech, sneeeeek,screech and shnorkle snok snok beep. One you had waited 5 minutes for the connection to take place you had to manually type in an IP address and string through a command prompt to make a connection to a space where you could then type information. Once done so it may be a few days before you got a response, so even though it was cheaper than a phone call overseas,9relatively) it was nowhere near as quick as a phone call, nevertheless we got some major development work done regardless.
Then the Internet became a thing, connectivity was far quicker, still with the screeches and sniorks pops and plings, but quicker. You could get to websites, sources of information that people were placing into web addresses, and most likely those web sites had contact forms, you could send someone a message and quite often get a reply to your very own email address, something like Hotmail 😊 😊 which still exists.
Then came Social Media platforms, where people could connect with others, post comments and questions to others and get a multiple response in relatively short time. Sure Bulletin Boards still existed for those with a niche type of subject matter, but Social Media opened up all sorts of possibilities.
Fantastic I thought, this is really going to open up the world to stringer more diverse communities that will share and enjoy what others have to offer.
Bap Bow – This did not really occur. Social Media sites tended towards people that already knew each other, opened up the doors for anonymity and trolling and brought out in many the worst we have seen. Sites like Facebook , Myspace, instagram etc became spaces of bad behaviour, spaces of exhibitionism, spaces of anguish and anxiety never seen before. The wide open community that I thought would be a result of a greater capacity to connect became a smaller world of insularity and isolation; it became a space where people felt they could not really express themselves unless it was strong opinions opposing others. It became a place of bullying and depravity and divisiveness that we had not seen before.
The world had become a smaller space but had become a bigger place. There was no question anymore that people were different and often that difference brought about fear which brought about Ego which in turn brought about Offense.
Then COVID Hit, people became more isolated in their own spaces and suddenly out of necessity they found themselves engaging more online, engaging more with communities and and finding likeminded people from diverse and different backgrounds. People actually started using the interweb for the purpose that it was initially intended. To be used for the sharing of ideas not the opposing of ideas, to be used for the connectivity of community not the divisiveness and used for the very real connection with another. This all borne out of necessity.
My own experience and that of others is that platforms such as Zoom has taken on a whole new aspect of not only connecting workplaces but connecting communities, You Tube is seeing projects that are all encompassing, Facebook is thriving with some very strong like minded communities and platforms such as decentralised HIVE has opened up the doors to people being able to be expressive without judgement an understanding that ideas are to be shared and that by sharing things can openly develop and become stringer action towards a common goal.
If there is one thing that Disaster does with the Human race , it is that it brings it together, we see this in small communities when there is flood, fire and famine, we see community come together to support and strengthen each other.
COVID has shown us that the world is a big place but indeed a small space, it has brought different cultures together from shared experience and allowed them to enjoy that space of shared experience, it has shown levels of compassion that has not ever been seen on a global scale.
Don’t get me wrong it has also created some strong us and them mentality, but that is borne out of Fear and E.g., that is borne out of difference and from those not willing to embrace the unification tat difference can bring.
Lets embrace, as most have, what opportunities technology offers us and lets embrace that through difference we realise that we are all the same.
Enjoy the strength that expanding our community brings us and enjoy the opportunity to engage on a a scale we have not engaged before.