Social Evolution

The issue has been doing the rounds in my head for sometime now, it started with a question on LinkedIn about companies using CSR only for PR purposes, and I thought now was a good time to share my thoughts, at the risk of it sounding like an attempt at gyan. 😉

There was a very interesting topic tossed up last week here, on the role of social media, not in general, but in addressing the world’s problems. Whether all the coding gurus sitting down and making cool apps that generate thrills from a devouring audience are just doing it for its own sake rather than making a difference. While that question can be posed to just about anyone, and would elicit ‘no’ for an answer unless you were talking to an NGO or someone who works on CSR projects, it seems pertinent because well, its er, social media, and at its core, its about connecting people (sorry Nokia!). And it only seems fair that when the medium obviously has so much potential to change the world by the sheer amount of information it has, and the conversations it spawns, the humans that are so connected and the ones who are making the different levels and types of connections possible should also help out in bailing out those who are not privileged as themselves.

No, its not intended to be a moral debating session on career choices, although that’s welcome too. On the day i saw the (linked) post, by sheer coincidence I also came upon a few links which provided a start to answering the question. One was a presentation (via Chris Brogan) another, a site that holds immense potential. And yes, corporates can play roles that fit into their overall strategic objective and fulfill their business needs, check this by Motorola. (I’m beginning to have a healthy respect for this brand). Back home, this is worth a look, and I would like to see this Idea develop a bit more before I comment on it.

But while all these are definite concrete efforts towards making the world a better place, my belief is that the underlying philosophy of social media – sharing, collaborating, and most importantly transparency, is more fundamental and will itself cause quite a few groundbreaking things to happen in the way we develop as a society. With one single service like twitter, the flow of information is such that I am exposed to a multitude of new people, new websites, new thoughts, some of which make a profound impact on me, and on the way i think. As more and more people get hooked on to social media, think of the number of change agents it would create.

And it is vital for the change agents to absorb the inherent goodness that social media possesses. In an age when shortcuts to anything from file sharing to making money are eagerly lapped up, without a thought on its impact on others’ lives, and tech provides the means to do it and distribute it easily, it is important to ingrain a philosophy that would make developers and users think a little about common good when they engage themselves in social media, a thought that would at least discourage them from doing harm.

until next time, evolve

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3 Responses to “Social Evolution”

  1. Yep, I agree with you completely. I guess what is happening is this: you have a technology and then you go and search for a solution. While what should be happening is completely opposite. Social Media holds immense potential but we will need to view it from a different angle if we want it to be useful as a social impact channel.

  2. manuscrypts Says:

    Hmmm, true, i guess it also has to do a lot to do with the maturity of individuals using the media

  3. Great Post! Liked the content.

    Few thoughts from my side though without which I’ll feel incomplete.

    First, the whole idea of Social Media erupted abrupty in Western economies (WTH..US that is!) and who knows better than them in turning a subtle yet profound concept into practical profit generating venture than those people and as human tendencies go, we FOLLOW as monetary transaction is involved. There are few people though like POINT[dot]COM (saw this site last yr & I just loved the concept) who wants to take the crux of this whole new genre of engagement, collaboration, peering, sharing to the next level of leveraging human race. Still talks are talks! To be precise, we lack the conviction yet until some big shots prove that WE CAN DO IT!

    Words of Nietzsche: “…and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who cud not hear the music!”

    Cheers buddy

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