Having spent a lifetime looking for and finding many like-minded people both at work and play, Christmas time always gives you a few minutes to reflect on this and the year gone by. I was listening to Radio 4 over the festive period; Barack Obama was being interviewed by Prince Harry (Harry was the guest producer for the Today programme) and my first reaction was not to listen but I then thought maybe... this unlikely interviewer/interviewee combination might be worth it! Life is full of surprises. Here's a small section of the conversation transcribed. Don't worry about the grammar, it's the way the conversation went! There was a lot of trivia but a small 3 minute segment resonated with me and what we are trying to do with the 7thWave blogging communities. By bringing people together in the virtual world what we really need is to expand the virtual connections into real life and DO something and not just act as a passive supporter. This is really the mantra behind the Planet Xoolon legacy and the 7th Wave future! Let me know what you think?!
Keep an eye on this blog for a future announcement coming your way; we are planning an event to bring people together in the real world, where we can share each others' passions and beliefs to create a real difference. The blogs are just a start...
Barack Obama: One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities, they can be, just cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases.
One of the things that I think I discovered, even back in 2007-2008, is that a good way of fighting against this is making sure that online communities don't just stay online but they move offline. What I mean by this is, that I think that social media is a really powerful tool for people of common interests to convene and get to know each other and connect. But THEN it’s important for them to get offline
Go meet in a pub, meet at a place of worship, meet in a neighbourhood cafe and get to know each other, because the truth is that on the internet everything is simplified and when you get to meet people face to face it turns out they're complicated, there may be somebody who you think is diametrically opposed to you when it comes to their political views but you root for the same sports team or you notice that they're really good parents and that's something that you as a parent care about.
And you find areas of common ground because you see that things aren't as simple as have been portrayed in whatever chat room you've been in, and, it's also, by the way, harder to be as obnoxious and cruel, in-person, as people can be anonymously on the internet and so one of the things we want to do I think is. as were working with young people to build up platforms for social change, make sure that they don't think just sending out a hashtag is, in itself, bringing about change, it can be a powerful way to raise awareness but then you have to get on the ground and actually I do something.
Prince Harry: This is exactly what I ended up saying in the WE Day speech in front of eighteen thousand kids in the Air Canada Centre yesterday, was, we get it, we get it that a lot of you are hooked on social media but the important thing is that by liking something and sharing something isn't making a change, if you really want to make change you need to look up from your phone and get out into your communities and you need to stand up for what you believe in, we can’t be the older generation going NO to social media, “it's bad for you”, “it’s bad for your mental health”, “its hopeless”; it's a tool, and used and managed correctly it has amazing power, so on the social media front educate or regulate....
Barack Obama: I am, I am big on education, as I said earlier; just because I think the notion that we’re are going to be able to corral; that we're going to be able to contain what’s said and what's not said on the internet; this seems like…unachievable and contrary to the values of an open society that both the United States and Great Britain and most of the advanced world adheres to. I don't want to live in a world in which the state is making a decision about who says what.
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