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The Future is Open

We Need Each Other

I've just signed up for Blog Action Day - a collaboration between bloggers all over the globe in which everyone agrees to post about the environment on October 15th this year.

As Gina Trapini of Lifehacker puts it in a Wired article about the initiative:

"A bunch of voices talking about the same thing at the same time gets more people's attention than the usual cacophony of posts."

More than 6000 bloggers have signed up so far, with a combined reach of more than 4 million people, which is pretty amazing.

I can't help but feel wonderfully optimistic about people at the moment. There are so many examples of people in the industry and in general trying to doing something good, individually and collectively.

There's the increasingly impressive Alldaybuffet, where I heard about Blog Action Day, set up by the endlessly enthusiastic Michael Karnjanaprakorn, to make doing good easier by connecting up likeminded people:

It's a simple idea: Inspire Action. Change the world. Have Fun. Because doing good shouldn't feel like a chore.

Michael put his life where his mouth is too - he moved to New Orleans to work for Trumpet to try and help change the profile for the city.

Which in turn led to him feeding in the first brief  to Planning For Good - an initiative hatched at the AAAA conference by Ed Cotton and Co to help leverage the growing global plannersphere for good:

Problem: Planners want to make meaningful contributions and want to work, share and learn from others

Idea: We use the Ning and briefs to problem solve and create pathways for non-profits

Which is being run through the Ning and a Facebook group - we've just submitted our first response to suggest routes to help re-generate The Big Easy, working in teams that spontaneously generated themselves to help.

There's The Age of Conversation collaborative book, written about 100+ bloggers and being sold for Variety, the children's charity, which has raised more than $10,000 thus far and it still being heavily promoted by its authors.

There's the lovely Johnny Vulcan, continuing to remind people and brands that it's never someone else's job to help:

Of course it’s our job. It’s nothing to do with what industry we are in but rather us as individuals and responsible members of our communities.

One of the biggest problems that campaigners of all kinds have always faced is the "What can I do I'm just one person" problem. Now, global communities have self-organised thanks to social media tools, and we seem to have suddenly realised that we aren't just one person anymore.

Step outside our extended industry family and it's happening all over the web. Pangea Day, named after the unified continent of pre-history, is an initiative trying to harnass the power of film to spread a global message of solidarity and tolerance, broadcasting the submissions from all over the world across every platform imaginable on May 10th 2008.

Injustice and violence still provide the backdrop to many people's lives but it can no longer be hidden. Bloggers in Burma got the message out and hundreds of thousands of people are showing their support, which in turn is forcing governments to address the demands of a people to be free from oppression.

[Update: MTV have launched a socially conscious social network called Think, to encourage young people to be aware and act on important issues including the environment and HIV, leveraging their access to celebrities to help energise the audience. via Ketchup]

For the first time in the history of our species we are connected. When television emerged, it showed an entire generation the world for the first time. The internet let us talk to each other, and social media allows us to reach out and connect to communities. The reason tools that allow communities to develop have grown so rapidly and become so important is that we need each other, and we need to need each other.

As Gandhi put it:

"Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency."

Satre said that "Hell is other people".

He couldn't have been further from the truth.