Sunday, August 29, 2010
The world in which we live today often feels as though it is moving at a speed far faster, and fired up with far more energy, than ever before. Events are unfolding with seemingly greater intensity. And having a greater global impact. Extreme situations are becoming extremely familiar. The drama of daily life is appearing everywhere, every day, every time one looks at a TV, computer or mobile screen.
How has this happened?
One of the reasons for the hyper-acceleration of happenings is the hyper-activity of social media commentary.
Where once news networks were relied on for information and insight, public opinion has gained unprecedented power. Immediately, as an event occurs, it is captured, analysed, shared. Through images and text the simple flapping of the wings of a butterfly on one part of the world can cause an immediate storm a world away. And a flurry of commentary around what happened: why the butterfly chose to flap his little wings at that precise moment, in that precise location. Precisely what did he mean by it?
Connections are being made, between people, places and points in time. And voices across the globe are sharing their opinions with global audiences.
All it takes is the click of a 'SEND' button and thought can become thought leadership.
It is truly remarkable and empowering that one is now able to share ideas, information and opinions across borders, across cultures and across ideologies across the world. For millions it is life changing. Enablement has occurred through e-connectivity. And with it has come social and economic freedom.
The power which comes from the SEND button can, however, be overwhelming. The temptation to 'tell us what you think' and know that the world is reading can be too great to pass up. Particularly when one holds a position of leadership, be it political, private business or as a recognised personality. Fifteen keystrokes of fame.
And how seductive the invitation to engage when it comes to sharing opinion in open e-forum when voices are united in critique, with growing numbers of followers and growing flames of fiery opinion.
Sadly, often, momentum of opinion sharing takes on a life of its own. Words shift from helpful critique to hurtful criticism. A common enemy breeds heated commentary. The messenger and the message become confused. The need for a moment of pause and consideration of impact is lost.
And before you know it your name is sent into cyberspace, attached to words which will eternally appear in any Google or Bing search ever conducted on your name...
For all the possibility which has been created through the global connectivity which now characterises the times in which we live (and share), the responsibility of this power of opinion must never be forgotten.
To hit the SEND button is to leave an e-fingerprint in history. Together these fingerprints can build unity of community of thought and positive impact. Sadly, however, so too can it create ever-embedded negativity.
The butterfly effect has taken on a whole new meaning in our new world of global opinions.
Importantly, however, just as the butterfly never loses sight of the effect the flutter of his wings can have on the world around him, he maintains a healthy perspective regarding his place in the world. Tiny, beautiful, essential...and potentially powerful.
So too must we never lose sight of the impact of our opinions. And responsibility we hold for the impact of flapping our wings each time we hit the 'SEND' key.
Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010