Thursday, 15 March 2012
Global Village - Reality or Illusion?
We all live in a globalized word, in a world with dense networks, provided by the miracles of internet, facebook, twitter, and other social media tools.
It is easy to make contacts around the world, to share thoughts and information through various channels. I met new friends in different countries all over the world, I learn Russian with a friend in Moscow on Livemocha.com, I share my political thoughts with people in Australia, the UK, the Middle East, and Latin America on InterNations.com. I have regular chats with a friend in Lithuania through Skype.
The thing is: I don't meet these people, at least not in real live.
We - and I refer this to my and other generations living in this very world - flatter ourselves to be global, to know hundreds and thousands of people around the world, to share information and to be "international". So, does it count to be international by having international networks online?
People show off with the number of facebook friends, and we automatically believe "Oh, wow! He/She's having more than 500 friends, that person must be popular everywhere, he/she is global!".
Ask yourself: how many of your facebook (or any other social media platform) friends do you know in person (even if you met them very briefly), how many of them fall into the "nice to have" category, and how many of them are just linked with you because you're in the same group of interest?
"The planet has become smaller through globalization", that's the standard slogan of every single convinced globalisation believer.
The sad truth is: we are NOT living in a global village!
It is a major difference between knowing someone online and knowing that person in real life. Personal differences and preferences don't change just by being globally linked. The world didn't improve in its vital and essential needs. We didn't solve the problems in the Middle East through global networks, we didn't solve the food crisis in Sudan with the internet, we didn't stop global warming by sharing strategies through facebook alone.
Global networks are a tool, but not an ultimate ideology to overcome contemporary world problems.
We don't feel closer to the immediate needs of people in Africa, South America, or Southeast Asia, as long as we are de facto geographically separated.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that global online networks in any form and design are wrong (I would ridicule myself making such a statement through this very blog). But we should stop believing in its supremacy as a "saviour" or an ultimate weapon of our civilized and democratic society against any form of modern tyranny - in political and in economic terms.