Tear down these walls
While I’ve been over involved in our own little drama, the world has been watching the Egyptian people try to take back their country. Everything we have been taught to assume, that the Arab street is a dangerous place, and that Arabs are violent, have been proven untrue in this revolution. I’ve been “watching” much of the action via Twitter, and following Egyptian and expats who are tweeting live from the events as they happen. The demonstrators have shown bravery in their commitment to a non-violent approach. The whole world is watching people act in the manner of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and it’s having an effect.
Several, @Sandmonkey and @TravellerW, I have followed for some time. I’ve read their blogs and find them both to be reasonable and educated. I’m proud to say that both are on my blogroll. They have a global view of world politics. Both have shown interest in learning more about Israel by visiting and meeting Israelis. They are the elite of their country and tweet in more languages than I can recognize. It’s amazing to see how the Internet, and social media in particular, are playing a part in today’s version of “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”. Has the world changed so much? Have we really become a village, interconnected by blogs, Twitter, Facebook and any other number of “clubs”.
There is no end of information available on the current crisis. What we as individuals need to learn to do is to find the relevant voices and tune in to them. There is so much noise that it becomes a chore to filter out the time wasting op/ed pieces and focus on the people who are out there experiencing reality.
The biggest risk is that given our limited bandwidth, we often prefer to read those who have opinions similar to ours. But the interesting stuff often comes from those with whom we may not agree. The difficulty is communicating but maintain civil dialog in spite of disagreements. Today’s social mediums have block and report functions so a moderator is no longer required. But if you want to hear both sides, you need to self moderate in order to participate in both worlds.
We are now seeing the results of social activism in the Internet Age. First Wikileaks blamed for Tunisia, then Tunisia blamed for Egypt. If so, not only did the causus originate in the Internet (Wikileaks), but the method of organization and reporting of live events are open to anyone interested, not just formal news outlets. Anyone with an iPhone/Android is now a freelance reporter combining fact and opinion. We readers are responsible for digesting appropriately. Unfortunately, most don’t and will no doubt take as fact any opinion that meets with their own pre existing beliefs.