The following is a transcription of an interview my friend Jeff Pulver did during the #140conf Tel Aviv on November 2nd. I asked him if I could re-post it because I think it brings up a lot of good stuff to ruminate on this Thanksgiving.
The #140 Conferences in 2011 were about discovering and finding meaning, and realizing that it's not about technology. It really is about people, about how some people are discovering their voice and how other people are discovering other people's voices. Amplification is occurring that is creating a reawakening of humanity on one level, spirituality on another level, and the ability to affect change all at the same time. You now have people who never realized that they had the power to influence and to do, who are.
I used to think that these platforms were transitory; that something would evolve into something else. What I didn't realize at the time was that we are living through truly what is a social revolution. That is a social revolution as an "ism."
We know history says things like Communism, Fascism, Marxism, and Capitalism. There are a lot of isms. This is the internet "ism." It is one of the unintended consequences of 43+ years of the Internet.
We are seeing what happens when you are living in a world where hundreds of millions of people can discover each other, and communicate directly; where barriers to entry and in fact gatekeepers slowly go away. We are seeing what happens when people discover each other, discover that they can feel and connect, and can touch and engage. We now have generations of people who realize that they are living in a world of 7 billion other people, and where for the first time in our human history every voice matters. There is profoundness in terms of where this brings us.
A Reawakening of Humanity
I believe we are seeing a reawakening of humanity. People are discovering and feeling, maybe for the very first time. They understand that they can actually stand up and affect change not even realizing that is what they are about to do.
Although I still think that there is a need to have face-to-face interaction with people. These technologies allow an intensity in terms of connectedness we can feel. When we can read someone's Facebook status and start to cry as a result of it, or laugh hysterically, or just smile, we realize that through this digital medium, feelings are emanating. For example, if you have searched someone on Twitter, or wrote something and you cried because of it, maybe it was the loss of someone, or maybe it was frustration, then you have experienced this connectedness. As a result, words are turning into feelings and those feelings are turning into synapses in our minds.
There is a different world out there. If we close your eyes, we will start to visualize a world, which is not necessarily the one in front of us. When we get to the point where we can start hearing people whose voices are based on what we are reading and believe that when we type something we are really speaking back, it is a much different place than what we see.
There is a virtualization even though we are in the physical. There is still something happening spiritually, that is touching, changing, and connecting many of us. Some of us, unfortunately are kind of numb to it. They do not get it. They feel something but they do not know why they feel it. There are other people who actually have this intense ability not only to feel, but sometimes affect positive change. So these technologies are helping us accelerate some things.
Where does this leave us in terms of negative consequences? Well, short term tactical, yes, there are probably some negative affects because nothing is perfect. We are always evolving. I would like to believe that there is such a thing as a good failure. We have good mistakes. We learn, we develop, and we apply. The only failure I think is not to use these technologies. To ignore them, that is the failure. To try them out and see where it goes, to see where it takes us, that is the blessing of being alive.
The Power and Meaning of One Hug A Day
In all of my travels in the U.S., Europe and Israel, I have learned to hug. I have learned the power and meaning of a hug a day. I believe if you hug someone today, it is like sharing with them a concept of embracing today, making today matter. I am finding that more and more people are hugging, more and more people are connecting, and they do not even know why, but they are. We will start to see the after affects of what it means to be better connected.
There is nothing in Israel that is different than in the States, that's any different in Europe in terms of the ability for people to connect with others. We are all human beings after all.
We may have different issues here that are amplified based on the society that we live in, but at the end of the day we are still people, and there is that human energy that drives everything.