The chatter about our increasingly interconnected world is often focused on negativity. We’ve bid farewell to privacy as we document every breath we take online.
As too many have learned the hard way, our digital fingerprints are often used as weapons of mass professional destruction. Social media is a double-edged sword, as we’re always one booze-fueled party or one racy political opinion away from career damnation. This aspect of our digital existence is well-documented and appropriately feared by millions.
On the other hand, technology is already being harnessed as a force for mass change. Today, new movements can completely bypass traditional media in order to reach huge segments of the population. The barriers that used to exist for social change are tumbling. Whatever your goal is, today’s world of communication is much flatter and much more accessible that it used to be. While largely progressive movements have been the pioneers of using modern technology for organizing, this will change in the not-so-distant future. In today’s environment, the foundation of political movements is largely digital — technology has become the indispensable centerpiece of social change.
The idea that technology can be used to improve public well-being is the core mission of Civil Hall Labs that was launched at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City. At this conference, we heard from a variety of inspiring speakers who are changing the world as we know it through technology. There’s little doubt technology has already radically altered the civic landscape — we’ve seen movements like Black Lives Matter made possible by social media. It’s not just hot-button political movements, either. It appears that average citizens in every corner of the world are able to weigh in and be part of the wider political conversation.
This year’s theme at the Personal Democracy Forum is “The Tech We Need.”
Technology solves old problems and creates new ones. The speakers highlighted the benefits and pitfalls of the digital world. There’s a new world out there with an entirely new set of rules, where power and influence are amplified or destroyed in a blink of an eye. By better understanding how to use technology as a tool for public good, the world could perhaps end up being a better place.
In this frightening and exciting world of rapid change, Civil Hall Labs and the Personal Democracy Forum exist to find common ground between diverse communities of thought.
There’s a community sprouting up around people who can “agree about the value of the open web and connection technologies, and who celebrate how human ingenuity and dynamism can overcome adversity.”
There are few things that are more important in a political environment where bipartisanship largely no longer exists.