Looking through my photo albums at home, I stumble upon a picture that dates back to kindergarten. In it, I see a familiar, but a long lost face. My best friend back then. So I go to the kitchen and ask my mum about her. She looks at me and says “You know, she’s my friend on Facebook. You should look her up and add her to your list, too. Connect. You guys were great friends.” I thank my mom, cause she’s reminded me of how easy our life has been made by the internet. This incident got me thinking about social media and the good, bright side of it. We have been read a long list of its ‘bad’ consequences over and over again, but really, would the world be as connected as it is today, if not for the same? Yes, there are so many reasons why it has looked like the big bad wolf, but internet has provided us with a platform that can be used to create a better world. It is a brainchild of human innovation and technology. There are so many reasons why humanity should thrive in this digital age. There’s a wider platform to connect better, share one’s experiences better, to increase awareness about various issues, and to showcase one’s talents better.
Like my experience of connecting with a long lost friend, there are so many people out there who have been able to use the digital platform to connect with people they had long forgotten. This new digital age has also given us the means to discovering new people who have the potential to make a real change in the world. Anonymous users who have the ability and the spark can connect with the right kind of people and get the right kind of help by getting ‘online’. So, apart from connecting with the ones that matter to you, it also helps us connect with a much larger audience. Reach out to people in need, and help them with the right resources.
The expansion of ideas and innovation comes when someone shares their experience or their discovery with the whole mankind. Internet has provided a medium for thousands of people to do exactly that. Share. Share your story, your ideas, your experiences and inspire people into believing and doing something different, or something new. Websites like TED, Medium, Wordpress, etc have thousands of people sharing new ideas on them. So many times it has happened that a story has sparked a conversation that has led to a new invention or a social change. When a person puts a new idea out there, for the world to see, it gets scrutinised and re-invented by the people to make it better, this process leads to a creation that everybody takes part in, initiated by a single person behind a computer. When Susan Cain gave her TED talk on “The Power of Introverts”, she got about 12 million views on her talk. The response made her start a community called ‘Quiet Revolution’ where introverts can come together and share their stories, be around like-minded people and find advice especially for them. This shows that a simple hashtag or a video can create a storm of new ideas that trend quickly across the world for its users to see.
The internet also provides a platform to create awareness regarding various issues around the globe. A remote village facing a terrible crisis comes to light because a news video of it gets shared all around Facebook. Then, thousands of people get aware of the conditions of that village. Or people are made aware of the new inventions by diverse platforms. NASA, today, shares it’s daily doings on it’s Instagram Stories and makes it easier for a layman to access and see the new developments taking place at the space station. Something as simple as the creation of an edible spoon in a remote area in India is making a huge difference in the world today with regards to the pollution created by the disposal of plastic spoons. This idea has been shared and is made accessible for the world to see with the help of internet. The power to create a difference in the world with a simple idea has been made possible with the help of this digital platform. The same simple hashtag that helps spread ideas makes it possible for people to be aware of social issues as well, for example, the “#BlackLivesMatter
You can access absolutely anything on the web today. And while it is a scary thought, it’s quite an amazing thing for people who access it for education that they might not able to get otherwise. Coursera has hundreds of online courses that enable its users to access them from absolutely anywhere in the world. Many universities also provide with online distant learning courses that help extend the reach of knowledge to remote areas in the world, or even to the people for whom it’s not possible to physically go and attend the course. The internet is also a platform for people to make donations and help those in need, sites like Ketto enable people to make anonymous donations and actually see the progress they’ve made by giving back to the society. LinkedIn, Internshala, etc., provides everyone with an opportunity to find jobs online and make it easier for them to make some change.
What my point is, by stating the above examples, is that every new invention has a good and a bad side, and it is on us to decide what to use it for, and what to make of it. There are hundreds of reasons why the internet can be used for worse, but many more for why it’s a big, bold invention that the humanity needed, to work the way it does today, that is, in a much simpler and accessible way. There are so many opportunities out there to grab, that were made possible partly due to this digital platform, and it’s time we appreciate it for all the good it can do.