What Social Media Means to Individuals in a Global Community
A year ago I was sitting on a Spanish fortress with four friends. One was Italian, another Spanish, one Turkish and the last was from Florida. As we sat there, sharing a bottle of wine and watching the sun set over the Spanish frontier city of Badajoz, it occurred to me that this moment would be one that I treasured for the rest of my life.
I learned a lot from those friends. In fact, they and many of my other friends taught me a great deal about myself and the world around me. Friends, family members, teachers and co-workers have a knack for doing that. Our values, tastes in music, film, food, fashion, lifestyle and even our speech patterns largely stem from those who we most identify with. We piece our own personalities and tastes together based on things that these people share with us and, even if we don’t mean to, we tend to rub off on them as well.
A friend might play a song for us that forever alters our taste in music. We might hear someone use a phrase in that song that we appreciate and add to our vocabulary. Someone you know might post photos from an exotic destination that will give you the urge to go there. You might post a video that exposes another friend to something they may eventually pursue passionately.
The lesson in all of this is that everyone learns from and is shaped by the world around them. With the social networks that we’ve embraced so far, our circles of influence have expanded, but not nearly as much as they could.
As members of a global community we are the first generation that has the opportunity to learn from a much, much wider sphere of influence that has extended to include…well, the whole world.
We are compelled by the new and different. This is a fact of life that is and has been true for thousands of years. Evolution, whether it was the evolution of a species, a product or a cultural value, has always embodied the importance of the new. It provided us with new answers to old problems, new perspectives, new ways of life. Imagine if our world had never embraced the new. We wouldn’t have gotten very far as a species if we never took chances and tried something different.
This is the first time in the history of our planet when we can learn from and share our own passions with people on the other side of the world. We are no longer constrained by the immediate. Instead, our spheres of influence have become limitless. We now have access to every musical genre in the world. We can see photos of far away places. We can discover who we are and who we want to be.
The friends I shared wine with on that castle wall taught me so much about life, friendship, hospitality, style and personal philosophy. I can’t wait to see what I can learn from the rest of the world.