World 2.0 is upon us. Web 2.0 is a metaphor for the technological world of social media and smart phones. Two recent events last month have led me to consider our society is now World 2.0.
I was watching news coverage the day pop star Michael Jackson died. I was struck by something as the cameras panned across the crowd of people gathered outside the Los Angeles hospital where he died. The camera was on the Fox News reporter, but I noticed that every bystander you could see in the picture was on a cell phone texting or talking—most seemed to be texting. What was occurring was everyone was reporting the event. Everyone was a reporter!
The other situation involved the mass street demonstrations in Tehran, Iran, following their recent presidential elections. The people protesting in Iran have employed the Web 2.0 tools of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to upload videos, pictures and descriptions of the protests. Cell phones and computers are the keys to this information flow. Major cable news sources then use this material on television.
That is the reality of our socially connected, wired world today. Anyone with a smart phone and connection can transmit text, pictures and voice instantly from the palm of his or her hand. Information is instantly posted on Twitter, Facebook and other online media. News organizations often rely on these sources for information on breaking news stories.
Last January when the US Airways jetliner landed in the Hudson River in New York, the first pictures were from a guy with a phone posting to Twitter. Amazing!
A point to learn from this is the fact that information abounds and is transmitted, shared and absorbed instantly by a variety of means. Nothing is secret, and information cannot be controlled. Iran is learning that you cannot control a citizenry aroused over an election. Iran has tried to crack down on the Internet but with little success.
China continues to try to crack down on and censor the Internet within its borders. They do this with some success, but people find ways to circumvent the walls and get information in and out. The lesson for a nation or organization is that in today’s world you cannot fully censor and control the flow of information. Technology is moving too fast and the means to disseminate information is easy, accessible and inexpensive.
Technology is a force multiplier in today’s geopolitics. No country, no organization, can expect to compete and grow without proactively harnessing the social power of Web 2.0. To fail in this is to fall behind and risk permanent underclass status.
It is far better to learn key lessons about human freedom, dignity and love than to try to censor, control and ignore. History shows the persistent, inexorable march of human freedom. No human government can stop the arrival of the day when God grants spiritual freedom to all humanity.
All this puts a greater responsibility on the individual, on you and me, to make sure our words and communications are responsible, true and gracious. We should let God’s Spirit motivate us to have sound and encouraging communication that builds relationships. The words of Colossians 4:6 Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.
American King James Version×sum it all up: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” WNP