So here’s an interesting debate for you. Could social media be used to change a culture? This was the question, and idea posed by Grant McCracken, in his article ‘Could a Social-Media Tool Increase Kindness.”
In the article Grant uses Boston as his example. Speaking from his own experience, and in his own words:
“I was surprised by how standoffish everyone in my apartment building was. We would see each other twice a day in the elevator, but we’d rarely exchange a word of greeting or acknowledgment. It was so bad, I remember thinking to myself at one point: Maybe this building is in the witness relocation program, and people are afraid they’ll be recognized.”
He went on to say; “Normally, I’d say the situation was beyond our individual or collective control.” And then goes on to explain from there about his findings through a couple of guys who set out to prove him wrong – with social media.
As it turns out, these couple of guys are on the verge of launching a social media tool called Thank Bank, which I believe is a network designed to help people express their appreciation.
There are two points that spring to mind when reading this article:
- What makes Thank Bank different from pressing ‘like’ on Facebook? Could a social network specifically for expressing thanks be enough..? And do I really want to sign up to another platform without good reason.
- Surely the increase of kindness comes from an individual, or group decision to do something – and not a social media tool. If this were case then, I’d suggest we have much bigger problems at hand…
Personally, I am all for the idea of social media encouraging social good and increasing kindness. Social media is a powerful aid, which I fully support and salute the good work it has already done for individuals, family life, and business. I just believe that we must be careful not to mistake the different between our actions and the assistance of a tool in a world that has become so dependent on such smart technology.
In any case, I also believe that is more than possible to change a culture when a group of people together make a decision. On our own, I would agree with Grant, it is impossible. However, I believe there is power in a few.
To quote Margaret Mead, and American cultural anthropologist:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”