Reading People Power 2.0 (Technology Review) by the excellent John Pollock and his portrayal of my contribution in overthrowing a tyrant by helping win the Libyan information war, led me to reflect on what the friggins happened to me.
I had no ties with Libya, and although I did hear of Human Rights abuses, I basically thought it was an oil pumping stretch of sand with a tent-pitching leader.
Why I participated in the #feb17 revolution baffled me at first. I’m really not the world best activist.
It became crystal clear later in the game.
I’ve put my finger on it, checked the pulse and it is very much a big thing…
It's the next chapter we are writing, right now, on the productive use of the web.
It sounds either whimsical or way too pompous, but believe me:
It isn’t virtual at all. It has real world impact and it’s actually super easy to jump in:
The rapidly growing number of devices used to access the internet world wide, and the subsequent multiplication of voices, opinions, we hear or share online is propelling us collectively, connectedly – hand in hand – to the brink of a brand new day.
I’m not talking about the relationship between analogical and digital worlds, nor the formidable sourcing and publishing power that social media represents today. This has been explored and narrated over and over again. Media loves to showcase and share (and re-share) this concept. We publish therefore we exist. We are online, we are awake – and we are aware of it, thank you very much.
I’m referring to something far more powerful:
Our capacity to click together – not only connect digitally, but share minds - all of this facilitated by a plethora of online tools and services. We are starting to use the global networks to aggregate, think and produce together – regardless of cultural hurdles, borders or archaic legislations. An auto-governing hive that knows what is right and what is wrong. A global collaboration that feeds exclusively on diversity and spurs us on to think bigger. To think better.
What's the factor that drives a person in the US bible-belt to start tweeting about the Arab Spring? What gets someone in Australia to translate 24/7 reports of human rights abuses happening on the other side of our Earth? What motivates a grassroots activist to reach out to a Scandinavian housewife for help in fundraising?
It can’t be the tech alone (although now that we have it, it would be good to keep it free). It may be the result of a seamless technology that allows us to transcend physicality and exist through our brains. It’s definitely the Social in Social media. Not the media itself, and it pulls on our individual core expertise and skills - and value sets - summoning them to participate and deliver.
It’s something profoundly human … It’s shifting, swelling and becoming louder everyday.
Some amongst us have already understood that this new dawn is coming, and I took my lead from Mohammed Nabbous. He inspired and I gave it all I had.
Small successes snowball into historical events, like the feb17 revolution in Libya. Through a common purpose we are building our capacity together, transmitting and receiving intelligence, making each other stronger.
Suffice it to know that each and every one of us can be a resource, a mine of information, a tool to collectively go out and build something huge.
So what is it that made thousands just like me tick during the Arab Spring?
I believe it was the sum of our online collaboration and combined sense of what is right and wrong.
I call it our Collective Conscience.