The Interwebs As Random Acts of Kindness

Today’s TEDTalk is an awesome treat on at least two separate levels: first, it describes, very optimistically and with great humor, the great possibilities for spontaneous human communion and cooperation enabled by the interwebs and, second, it is being presented, quite uncharacteristically, by an attorney who does not seem to want to make a quick buck out of it by suing someone :)

Ah, the internet... Sure, you can always focus on the negatives. There is plenty of animosity and vitriol found on blog forums, horrible spelling all over Facebook (only lolcats should get away with it), unscrupulous con artists trying to ‘give away’ their Nigerian fortunes, entire nations attempting to censor information that makes them look like dicks, unsolicited emails promising bigger boobs and penises, and ubiquitous spambots crawling the web attempting to wreak multiple forms of havoc.

Yet, against all odds, the internet doesn’t merely survive: it thrives. Jonathan Zittrain argues, quite persuasively, that this is because individuals from all sorts of backgrounds decide to volunteer their time and skills in pursuit of goals larger than their own particular needs and opinions, without having to be solicited or prompted, and he’s got some funny and touching examples to make his case.

Despite the multiple ways in which corporations sell their souls in order to achieve higher ratings and larger profits, the intertubes survive because individuals still seem to be driven by a personal sense of purpose, citizenship and genuine altruism. Hey, maybe that’s what this blog is all about! :)

And if you want to learn more about the ways in which the Web 2.0 revolution is bringing people together, you simply must watch this fascinating lecture on the anthropology of youtube.
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