Brace yourself this is one I am passionate about….
Imagine being in your mid 20s right now. You are the youngest generation to remember a world without ultra connectivity. You used to get asked to come inside for food because you had been outside so long that the tips of your fingers has started to go blue. There were cuts on your knees from climbing trees and going back down the free-fall way. Life was about the outside, the connectivity you have is with the living things around you. The Grass. The Trees. The majestic expansive silence of the Outdoors. The bee that stung you but you felt bad because you realised he wasn’t going to make it.
Right now, at the end of 2017, that isn’t the case. Children are told to go outside, pull themselves away from the screen, told to experience the outside world. Maybe the outside world isn’t that bad or maybe you just need to complete one more level of candy crush. The world of ultra connectivity has affected the way we start our lives.
But does it shape the way we live it? Will it actually made a difference or will kids still be kids and adults be adults and the world still go on? Is this the generation where we as a people lose those soft skills of making friends face to face, being kind and simply just being happy in themselves.
Where does that leave this, what am I really trying to say? Sometimes I don’t know, well most of the time actually. But I do want to know how this ultra connected world will affect the capacity of the younger connected generation to live and to love and to give. Ultimately, bringing this all back to that thing I bang on about a lot, how this ultra connected, ultra intelligent generation that can’t light a camp fire or climb a tree builds a world where everyone is equal. Build a world where the term sustainable development isn’t needed because well we did that and now we are all given the equal opportunity to work, to education, to water, to food, to live.
To live. To love. To give. I think this needs to be unpacked before we delve any deeper into the how.
It’s rather existential, but what does it really mean to live. We all live, that is a given but how do we ensure that our life has real meaning. For me it’s not behind a screen, it’s looking someone in the eyes and seeing that you have made their life a little bit better. How can we achieve that if at such an early age we are taught to communicate through this non-human network.
Maybe I’m over exaggerating. But no one can deny that once you have started living you have the ability to love. Once you have felt that passion, empathy and loss at the end then that is the time when you truly know what it means to give. For this equal world to be created people have to know how to give. For the global development world to progress people have to learn how to give. But isn’t that just extension of living? So to really change things in this world people have to learn to live. It only seems obvious that it is most important to learn that when you are a kid.
So. What we have learnt here is that if you let a kid play on his iPad too much the global development game will be lost. Silly right. Yeah I know. But actually it’s not all silly, is definitely an exaggeration, but it makes you think.
Now for every brilliantly written article, such as this one obviously, we must look at the other side of the coin. What does having an ultra connected society, or even world, mean when it comes to solving the problems that separate us; separates me from my equivalent in India, Borneo, Nepal or Colombia. It means that in this information age that nothing is a secret. Technology rules and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. This means that we need to work out a way of this next technology literate generation can use this incredible tool to benefit and to give to others.
Now comes the interesting thing, because this next generation haven’t developed the soft skills, are they in a better position to utilise the ultra connectiveness to positively impact the global development race. In fact will the lack of skills prove a positive when creating massive projects that benefit millions of people? Has the argument just thrown itself the other way? Do we in fact not need to learn to really live to help the people around us. Maybe only if it’s from the comfort of our warm western homes scrolling the latest Instagram Feed.
Social Media has to fit in all of this somewhere. The cash cow that is now one of, if not the, largest markets on our planet. Is social media not the evil gremlin behind this generational change, rubbing its hands at the prospect of generating billions of dollars from people like me and you. Are we not all totally dependant on it? Look at your phone right now, I bet that you have just got messaged on Facebook or WhatsApp or snapchat. We can all agree that social media is force for good and bad, it is even an unregulated beast that has ended the lives of many young people.
What can we do about it?
Well, people are doing good. There are campaigns raising money there are thousands of causes being promoted through these platforms but the beast still grows. Is there a way we can these people by directly tapping into the social media gremlin and using his money to make this world a better place. Well if we can the answer lies in the ultra connected generation, do they indeed hold the key to cracking this international development puzzle? Has the problem presented a solution? Thats a question that I don’t have the answer to.
But whilst all this whirls on in my head i find it interesting that I, the mid 20s kid who loves being away from the screen, has just founded a company that relies of this ultra connected society to generate revenue from the gremlin and indeed help people. So what is the way forward, who knows. But what I do know is that this world changes every day, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. All you need to do is your bit. Teach someone to really live.
Well thats my opinion anyways.