Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The power of the interwebs…

I was talking to someone the other day about the impact of technology on our lives. Especially as regards the youth who have grown up with it.

The discussion rambled about how the youth of today spend more time inside and less time outside running and jumping and playing. How kids are less active, have a higher propensity to be overweight, expect too much to be given to them, don’t have to learn good penmanship or spelling since they type everything and have never had to go to a library for a research paper.
We pretty much came to the conclusion that technology is to blame for all the woes of the world.

Then the discussion shifted to the power of technology to change lives. A friend of ours recently had knee replacement surgery. They pretty much cut out the old defective knee and replace it with a high tech titanium and plastic one. We also talked about how they use lasers to improve vision, voice recognition software to help disabled people speak, computer controlled wheelchairs to help people get around, etc, etc.

As we were talking about this, it struck me how the internet can and is used to create community. One of the things I do just about every day is to log on to
www.fatcyclist.com. It’s a blog started by a guy I worked with once upon a time (goes by the nickname Fatty) with the goal of allowing his friends to keep track of his weight loss and cycling goals.
As time has gone on though, it’s become a community of people that have never even met Fatty and has recently been focused on the struggles he and his family are facing as his wife deals with cancer.

One of the things that really amazes me is that the number of people that log on and comment. Even more is how the community he has created responds when there’s a need. He had a couple of fund raiser contests this year and they always generate huge responses and donations.
My wife, who has never met this guy or even logged on to his blog, and I talk about how Susan (Fatty’s wife) is doing and what the latest developments are.
How is it that so many people can be affected and touched by someone they don’t know, have never met and will probably never see in person?

The other thing that I find incredible is that at a time when the world seems to be filled with greedy, selfish people that are only concerned with getting over or getting ahead, I’ve seen such care and concern for a total stranger. Who knows, maybe there is hope for this world yet……

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