About The Connective Individualism Project
The blog title says it all, really, so I’ll just grab this bull by the horns and make a go of it. What’s the use in procrastinating?
Connective Individualism is my idea of how the internet has transformed the world and our communication space within it. We are no longer lone hubs of information, floating around and sometimes bouncing off each other, leaving some spark of our experience behind. We are connected at a very profound, intimate and personal level to an infinite number of people. That connectedness helps shape our own individual outlook as well as our personal tastes and ideas about the world around us. The idea of a “global citizen” is no longer an airy-fairy concept, it’s a hard reality.
We are all connected (virtually) in a million ways. We can find out anything about anything via the magic of the internet. Our relationships with people are changed thanks to email, smart phones, social media tools and blogs. We can be everywhere at once, and all without leaving the comfort of our homes, offices or classrooms.
The ease of communication makes it possible to connect with people all around the globe and be influenced by ideas that in the decades and centuries before us would have been unknown.
A perfect example:
Last night I watched “Giant,” the old George Stevens cinematic spectacle starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. Elizabeth’s character (Leslie), is a sheltered socialite from the Northeast who falls in love with Rock Hudson’s character (Jordan) from big ol’ Texas.
Leslie is smitten at first sight and in one scene we find her sitting on her bed, pouring over gigantic tomes about Texas. Encyclopedias are lumped in front of her and she has spent all night reading about the strange new land of Mr. Jordan Benedict and his family’s cattle ranch. Mind-boggling by any perspective, his Reata Ranch spans nearly half-a-million acres of dry, arid land, and employs a small village of Mexicans as workers. According to the history books, the Benedicts took the land from the native people and Leslie is slightly unsettled by this fact.
It struck me as I watched that scene, that people once had to read big, heavy, clunky, musty books to get the information they were after. That information was probably out of date, pretty generic and very stale. The perspective would have been narrow and the ideas presented perhaps basic and stereotypical.
I wondered to myself how that scene would have differed if it were set in 2011. Leslie would have been rocking out to her iPod, browsing the internet on her laptop or maybe even her smart phone. She would have friended Jordan on Facebook and maybe snuck a peek at his Twitter account before settling on her choice of a lifetime companion. She would have known just what she was getting herself into by moving onto the Reata, and she probably would have found a few articles on Alternet or The Huffington Post about the plight of the Mexican workers employed by the Benedicts. She might have even decided to forego her crush on Jordan and stay at home on the family farm and marry her original suitor…what was his name, anyway?
The point is, the Internet allows us to learn more than we ever thought possible about any topic in the world, especially people. With all of the talk about privacy and just how much information we should be sharing, I can’t help but think that there’s an overall benefit to our newly-connected world, and that’s our relationships with people.
Technology can help us grow, expand, learn and become better human beings, and that’s the focus of this blog. No matter how much we revere or vilify the internet and social media, one thing is certain: it’s here to stay. Its influence will be felt on future generations, and I am excited about the possibilities that lie before us.
It will continue to evolve, and what is hip and new today will eventually fall by the wayside. What will remain are the human connections, the interactions, the curiosity and the people that we will become because of it.
To submit your story of connection to this project, please email me here.
I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for sharing.