Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
Facebook keeps really good records. Really good. In fact it's an issue of privacy discussions all over the web. But something good may have come from all the tracking. Facebook's Social Graph has revealed some of the changes that have taken place in the world due to social networking and the Internet. Frigyes Karinthy once stated that everyone in the world was separated from any person in the world by no more than 6 connections. The term was coined “Six degrees of separation.”
In the last few years however, our world has begun to shrink do to the increased availability of international communication through the Internet. Facebook has determined that through social networking the level of separation between two people has decreased significantly. In fact, it may be as low as four degrees of separation.
It is worth thinking about how this would affect activism and charity work here on I Power. It tells us how much easier it is to raise awareness around a topic. If every member of I Power were to share a cause on I Power (or elsewhere, like opsharecraft, the red cross, net neutrality, etc) and only a few of them share it as well, the ripple effect can become quite large. In fact, theoretically if everyone shared it four levels out, you would reach most of the world.
I'm curious how we might be able to utilize this on I Power to spread awareness on important topics. We should be able to make a significant contribution even with a small group. One person can make a huge difference in the world these days with the advent of technology.
So I Power, what do you think? How would be able to utilize this new, smaller world we live in??
I know that statistics like this bore the hell out of most people, but this is really a very, very profound one. Many people and companies out there, spammers, and even Chiren & Reese, are constantly hoping to "get lucky" and have something that they produce go viral on the web. And Facebook has made this easier to accomplish than any other platform out there. I know I mentioned this to you privately last nite, but I'm sure that most of us can still remember the Cartoon campaign that went ballistic on Facebook back at the end of 2010. That phenomena shocked, surprised, and caught the attention & interest of everybody! and especially the giants like Google. I remember seeing a Google demographic in some article back then about how cartoon searches had been the most popular search terms for an entire week!
A couple references for those who don't remember:
Now although that movement? campaign? was the height of slacktivism, it still represents extremely well what can potentially be accomplished with this 4-point connection statistic. So yeah, if there were a way for us to take advantage of it somehow, then man! I'm all for it.
Trouble with me is, though, that everybody ignores me on Facebook. LOL
Engagement. That's what it's all about. How do you get the people you know (even if it's only 10-12) to actually become engaged by what you're presenting. I think that's a key skill.
If we can figure out a way to get people's attention, and supplement that with the concept of four degrees of separation, then we have a powerful thing. I fact, that's what going viral is all about. Figuring out what that secret sauce is that makes things go viral is going to be difficult and require a lot of trial and error imo. The WikiHow article that I linked even calls it luck when you get something to finally go viral because the same thing will likely not work twice. It's going to be a mixture of a lot of things like timing, etc. Getting this down to an art will not be easy but I think in this world it's a useful skill for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is activism.
Just wanted to add an excellent page from WikiHow on viral marketing and how to use it effectively. I think becoming more educated on this topic is essential to activism in our Internet age.
If you create something valuable to read or experience, people will share it, period. I would ask, is it worth making something that has to rely on such a system to get noticed?
I would ask why it wouldn't be. World change takes world awareness. We live in the 21st century, and the way information is exchanged has simply changed.
If you write a blog with valuable things on it, it gets noticed by people and by search engines.. there's not something difficult in that. The other extreme, to me, indicates that in today's age (as you say is different), you must be struggling *because* what you have to say isn't so moving or valuable or impactual.
So, that's why I myself am trying to really find valuable insight that I can share with the world. "When the time is right.."
Ok, I'm going to lay it on the line with how I feel about this. I'm not struggling because I don't have anything valuable to say. I'm not currently active in promoting a cause right now, rather I am trying to provide resources for those who do. There are great numbers of very valid activist movements and charity functions that never get noticed. There are a lot of people with good ideas who never get heard.
Thinking that you will get noticed by search engines just because you have good content is not true. There are several people on this website that are excellent writers and highly intelligent people, and their blogs get next to no views. Search engines are not a way to spread content or ideas around any more. You must bring the ideas directly to the people. Let them decide for themselves if it is valuable or not, but before they can decide they must know about it.
By the same logic scientists shouldn't publish their papers and hope to be included/accepted into science journals. They should just post it on the Internet, or self publish a book with good keywords and trust that Google will send people their way because it's good content. If we used this approach scientific development would grind to a crawl.
I don't have a problem in the world with activists and charities using viral marketing. It gets their cause in front of a lot of people, all of which get to make the value choice for themselves. We all need to be exposed to new ideas, and I'm grateful for every single one of the ones I've been exposed to regardless of if I agree. It's been a new piece of information with which to base my view of the world, and every piece of information refines the view just a little more and gives me a clearer view....
Thanks for taking the time to explain all this to me. I hope I haven't deeply offended you.. sorry if I do.
I'm not about to say whether it's *right* or *wrong* for activism to be noticed, but today we live in a very complex world. The fact that activism about world poverty, about animal welfare, about deforestation, about water shortages, don't get much attention is that people themselves don't care. We don't care about our planet; we would much rather exploit the riches of the planet and live our rich lives in complete ignorance. Like you and me can talk here but the sickeningly vast majority of everyone else can lead materialistically & environmentally selfish lives.
I don't accuse other people of acting like the world is perfect.. I understand that they have no idea how messed up it is. (and yeah I have to bring in this point, I really do, to confront the issue of exposure for what people think is an important cause)
One of my philosophical theories about society is that the crowd = truth. While inside the context of society, why not? Animals are dumb and land is for anyone who claims it first. So, when you introduce an ethical problem like animal rights, this is not something that /other/ people who judge the world primarily by how they feel *think*.. surprisingly. Such an ethical issue needs to confront the reality that all these other people with their own lives are deluded...
How can you make such a fundamental change, in the way we see animals? In the way we contribute to deforestation?
Really, without tackling the core problem which is the human condition itself, we are stuck without change. You might think that viral marketing makes a view or ideal particularly one of activism more effective, but this fundamental process of not-giving-a-care-about-the-world-and-doing-our-own-thing-building-our-own-model-of-value-for-the-planet has been going on for some time, and the developed-world deathbringers that we are, are not going to be stopped by anything other than a real hard shaking of everything that we are. This is the concept behind great speeches; mankind today can't think clearly for himself individually.
" A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe.... What a terrible future! "
I'm not offended. I think that the way to challenge the human condition is through education. We are indoctrinated throughout our entire young lives to live the way we do, and that will not be reversed without re-educating the masses. I'm not even naive enough to think that one activism project will change it, or that even my generation will change it. What I am concerned with is spreading awareness for the sake of future generations. Just like our biological evolution, our society as a whole will have to evolve and it will take time. Our survival is being put on the line and evolution has shown us that it is under these circumstances that nature makes changes. While it is not purely scientific to assume that these rules of evolution will cross over from nature to society, there is some evidence in neuroscience to support the idea that our minds evolve in much the same way.
Think about it this way, if I use the tools at hand to get my message out to a million people, and only 1/10 give a shit, those 100,000 people will have children more likely to be raised with those values. I'm not going to stretch this post out just to make a point, but I'm sure you know that the math from that would still lead to a significant portion of people over time. Look at how religion spread throughout the world over time... It's the same principal.
Basically it doesn't matter to me if the majority of people don't give a damn about the Earth or change. All that matters to me is that I educate and inform people. If only a few of those people begin to question their way of living, then I am still a success.