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Progress: People Power

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This evolving organism, the Internet, is constantly renewing itself. Progress is produced through failures and variations of applications, cells adapt and renew themselves in response to everyday interactions, boredom and drama. The only thing that connects the birthed (newbies), the dying (users) and the plug (portal) is communication. Links. Transmissions sent through venous, intricate designs that may have occurred by accident, or not.

The Internet was born in efforts to develop superior communication devices and has been blossoming through the good, the bad and the ugly ever since. Driven by user content, the web is a non-geographical public forum that, to some, holds a promise of a limitless well of information. We reach out, regroup and find each other because the last thing we want is to live in a world that has nothing to do with us. In a nutshell: we spark connections with a click of a key.

A quick peak into your body’s bloodstream transit system and you might view such signs as  “Exhaustion” or “Exciting” or even “Too much beer” whereas across the screens of online communities you might read “Check out this hot new band.” or “Have you seen this child?” or even “All your bran are belong to us.” and so on. When such matters are brought to light, interest grows like weeds and they can aid as much as they can harm. 

Was the Internet an important tool in bringing aid to Haiti? We have seen the end of a world and we have organized in order to send support to a society that is left without electricity, without running water and without the certainty that their calls will be answered by a familiar voice. As we coordinated concerts, telethons and food drives we created opportunities to encourage generosity and involve our networks in expanding awareness to this cause. There is no doubt that this web is good for the group.

The plug supplies power to the mass. The web cannot be blamed for hours wasted on Bacon Degrees. Don't we all just want to make contact with other intelligent life forms? Pick your tool: Flickr, HypeMachine, YouTube, Wordpress... the Internet is your canvas to share (almost) any information with a world that is reaching out for reciprocity.

An important connection we make online on a daily basis is the one between the ghost of users past, present and future. Through the web we align ourselves with strings of information on any given subject, connecting bases of knowledge of the past, present and views of the future. (This type of association is usually one that is scoured by firms but unfortunately often goes completely unnoticed by those who would actually make great progress with these sources as fuel.) It is now easier, with a tool like Twitter, to share information between those who are passive and active in order to signal those that are reactive. In other words, this is how you can avoid calamities, be one step ahead and skip to plan b. This is how trends work, by unifying the dispersed crowd with a string of common interests. The big P will put fire in that trend engine.

Progress. It’s a natural process for all of us. Progress can manifest itself in the offline world as designed in the bosom of online communities. A good example is via Twitter and the #STM trend which is the umbrella code to everything STM related under one simple RSS feed. At the moment, there is no way to know if your bus is going to arrive at your stop in five, ten or twenty minutes. There are bus schedules at every other street corner but these are more like guidelines. With Twitter, a user can post an update such as “Bus 45 is 20 minutes late #STM”, warning all other users (the invisible crowd) waiting above and beyond and consequently prompting plan b.

Progress is a matter of perception. Progress will always rest between the hands of the people who bend it. People power rises in a flash mob, under a crowd surfer, in a cheer, in a rescue effort and at most intersections.

What progress fuels you? Is it Wikipedia? Is it a vaccine? Is it a President? Is it televised? If you want to change part of this world you are building, write about it, scream about it and involve all the different crowds that can help. Your actions are like money and money, as you might have already heard, is like a vote. It is an investment in an idea and a way of living. So live out loud.

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posted by Primessa Espiritu
3:34 pm


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