Throughout the last decade, the rise of social media has contributed to and helped perpetuate the rise of what some have called the “Generation of Me.” In addition to the instantaneous sharing of information and entertainment, social networks have helped users organize their social lives and stay in touch with even the most fleeting
This isn’t a bad thing at all. In so many ways, social media and the Internet have made the world a more entertaining, more connected and more satisfying world than it’s ever been before. However, the growth of the Internet and its potential to do great things shouldn’t have to stop there and neither does our collective potential to do more with this amazing tool.
The Generation of “Me” is well on its way to becoming the Generation of “Us.” The Internet and the tools it provides are like so many other of the mind-blowing technological revolutions we’ve seen throughout the course of history because they are organic and constantly evolving. No one person can steer the Internet in exactly the direction they want it to go. Instead, everyone who uses the internet and pushes its limits will determine this great innovation’s final destination, whatever that destination may be. The Internet belongs to us, is used by us and will continue to be shaped by us.
The distinction between “mine” and “ours” can say a lot about anything they are applied to. If this is “my” house, then you are a guest and you have no say in how I decorate it, take care of it or whether or not I leave the toilet seat up. If this is “our” house, then we share it. Everything I do in that house will have an impact on you and everything you do will affect me. In a house that is “ours” most decisions will be (or should be) made collectively. When we make collective decisions about “our” house, we are forced to think about it in a different way than we would have if it was only “mine” or “yours.” The same holds true for the Internet. Yes, I have my social network and you have yours, but there really isn’t a place that is specifically ours to be shared.
When people share, many have a tendency to be more considerate, thoughtful and empathetic. When we share ideas, it can take us to places we never would have discovered if we’d been working on our own. When we share knowledge we can help others discover untapped talents and interests that can change their lives and they can do the same for us. When we share a cause and stand together we are far more formidable than when we stand alone and that’s what the Internet is going to be all about.
There is and will always be a place for “mine” and “ours.” I’m not talking about Internet communism where everyone shares and nobody gets enough. What I’m talking about is a new age of the Internet and a Generation of “Us” where we shape the world together, where we can help each other discover things about ourselves we never knew before and where we can ultimately take the next step as a people.
The potential of an individual can be immense, but the collective potential of a people who understand the utility of collaboration is unlimited. We need a tool that is built to fulfill such ideals.