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A Manifesto for a Personal Social Media Campaign

on Tue, 07/03/2012 - 18:02

by Lloyd Baron Ph.D.

March 18th, 2012

Goal: To serve selected online communities of disparate common interests as an agent of change by leveraging my training, experience, energy and resources over the internet to make the world we share, in some incremental way, a better place to live, thrive,  and  to push the frontiers of human potential for future generations.

Context: I am aware of the emergent power of web-based social media (WBSM). It has the potential to radically transform how we, as a species, relate to one another, structure communities and organize ourselves for social, economic and political activities. However, we are only in the earliest of days of this new era and this nascent technological potential is only in its infancy. What we will do with the WBSM is yet to be determined.

Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry of 10 March 1876 describes his successful experiment with the telephone. Speaking through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room, Bell utters these famous first words, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."

The first telephone conversation was an invitation to initiate a face to face encounter; they didn’t know where else to take the mysterious new technology. So it is today with the first conversations in the WBSM sphere. We have no idea where this medium is taking us. We do, however, sense that it is much more than a platform for extended Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) relationships. It is certainly also more profound than the flood of generally superficial discourse found on Facebook and Twitter. Once again, this blind foray into the dust storm of the future is to be expected.  As Marshall McLuhan observed:

“When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

The internet that is being developed both in hardware and software domains  is neutral. It certainly has the potential for making our world a better place. It can, however, also accelerate the spread of excessive material consumption. Additionally, it can also exacerbate environmental degradation, encourage wide spread political oppression, and promote overall economic inequality and inequity. It is up to us to harness the forces of the WBSM and direct its potential to our betterment. It is up to me to help point it in that direction in whatever modest way that I can.

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel,  Pirkei Avot 1:14