Often the internet serves to remind us where we have failed humanity. Its stickiness immortalizing each individuals poor choice in memetic infamy. Sometimes though it helps us remember that the digital world has made our small world a little smaller, our communities are unbound by geographic location. We are human. Whether our interactions are part of the digital ephemera or the fleeting moments in the flesh, our interactions are with other individuals.
At the end of April 2012 I opened my mouth on Twitter and wound up organizing an effort to fund a house party with one of my favorite musicians (and thought leaders): Amanda Palmer. $5,000 was on the line. I put up my credit card in a show of faith. Faith that people, for the most part, are honest and good. That a person’s word is good enough to trust them unless they prove otherwise. By the time my card was charged approximately 40 strangers had entrusted me $100 each to make this night happen. As of today around 50 strangers have trusted me with their money. Just as I trusted them to pay me, they’ve trusted me to make this happen. And it’s going to. This is the power of yes, the power of trust.
It’s a wonderful, terrifying, and strangely beautiful thing that has happened. This is what community is. People that trust each other despite only sharing a tenuous link. What makes this so different is that this community, while actually sharing a physical location, was formed by ties on the internet. The digital landscape that was once – and still is – being touted as the end of communication and human interaction is bringing people together, face to face.
This is the power of social media, in our hyper connected society we still find a way to interact and make the world about people. It’s wonderful because people are believing that others have the capacity to be good. It’s terrifying because its a new way of looking at the world – and that we have to see the ability to believe in good as wonderful. It’s strangely beautiful because strangers are coming together over something that has touched their lives to make something greater than themselves.
Most days I can’t believe I’m a part of something that has the potential to change our society for the better; I’m so fucking lucky.