What would you say is the most disappointing societal change in your lifetime? I’m not talking about wars or long-term human problems like racism. I’m talking about some change that has happened in your lifetime that has made the world worse, not better. For me – and get ready to be shocked – possibly the most disappointing change has been the internet.
Actually, I’m not disappointed by the internet as much as disappointed about what we’ve done with it or, more appropriately, what we have NOT done with it.
I could write about the benefits of the internet for the rest of my days and never scratch the surface. The fact that I’m writing this post 39,000 feet above sea level is not lost on me, nor the fact that I’m returning from the Silicon Valley where the internet helped turn a series of former fruit orchards into a place where small houses cost a cool million (if you can even find one at that price).
Here is my gripe: the internet promised us connectivity and information flow. It promised to break down information silos. In it’s earliest days, we were contemplating a future where any of us could get any information and humanity (we assumed) would be better informed.
We would understand complicated concepts with greater ease. We would make better economic and political decisions based upon a shared understanding of the world.
Ok – maybe we didn’t believe it all exactly that way, but the degree to which the internet has served to erect rather than remove barriers has been a surprise to me, although I have a suspicion that a time-traveling George Orwell and other great authors wouldn’t be overly surprised.
As the network grew, the niches grew and became more apparent. The human weakness of committing confirmation bias has led us to be segmented into communities of the like-minded. As a result, fissures between people seem to be deepening.
This blog is a place where we focus on topics like leadership, innovation, balance, and personal effectiveness, and do so with an abundance mentality which flows from a deep sense of optimism. So let’s turn our attention in two directions: first looking in the mirror and then looking forward.