What You Can …Do?

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Do you realise the power you wield in the palms of your hands?

I was just watching the documentary channel. The movie was ok (definitely not Academy Award winning material), but every piece of video footage, all of the audio tracking and even the details of the journey (which were documented on a Blog) were happening with the power of a couple of  Apple MacBook Pros. The other day, I saw some tweets from someone complaining that there was not enough diversity at an upcoming conference. Everyone in the media is watching jaw-dropped as WikiLeaks forces them to reconsider what journalism is and will look like.

We all now have the power to change… the power to do.

Most of us still see the computer as a tool that takes us away from one another. Just today, the Montreal Gazette had an article titled, Off -Line, I Reconnected – one of those “what’s life like if you are not constantly plugged into the Internet” type of pieces. As much as the Internet, computers and technology can take you away from meeting people face-to-face or from acting in a more public social form, the true opportunity of the Internet and all of this connectivity is quite the opposite.

Now, you have no more excuses. If you’re not doing something, it’s not because you don’t have the power. It’s because you lack the drive.

If you think there are too many big box stores opening up in your community, and it’s creating something that is both too homogenous and hurting the local mom and pop retailers, you can now (for very little money) do something about it. You can create your own documentary film about it. You can can create a Blog telling the stories of your local community. You can create a Facebook page and build and a movement behind it. You can start an audio Podcast and share the stories of the local retailers with everyone online. You can take pictures and share them on Flickr, Facebook or wherever. The sky is the limit.

You can do… anything.

If you don’t like the way a conference is being organised, you can start your own. Fine, it’s not easy to pay speakers, rent a hall, sell tickets and market the event, but there’s nothing stopping you from running an online event where people share their point of view with the world (both Blog Talk Radio and Talk Shoe can get this going for you). On top of that, a live event lives and dies on the day that it happens, your online event can be downloaded millions of times… forever. What about using the online channels to create a meet-up of like-minded people in person or even use the channels to meet others and create an unconference?

Most people love to talk. Few people love to do.

If something wrong or evil was happening where you work, would you become a whistleblower? Think about what that would mean in a pre-Internet world. You would have to steal documentation. You would have to lie and do some fairly subversive things, while still pretending to be doing your day job. WikiLeaks allows anyone to post this bad stuff anonymously. Think about that. While some will use this to do very bad things, imagine those employees who can now do the right thing with very little personal repercussion. No matter where you stand on WikiLeaks, you have to admit that it empowers those who would typically be victims to affect change in the world.

Smartphones push this even further.

Have you seen the YouTube clips and Blog postings of people creating HD movies with their new iPhone 4? (if you have not, watch this: iPhone 4 film – “Apple of My Eye”). The quality is almost as impressive as the fact that you can actually do editing right on the phone. The HT Professional Recorder app for the iPhone allows you to record audio in stunning quality as well. Let’s not forget how easy it is to create content on Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc… directly from your mobile apps.

The limitations of what you can now do are simply limited by your own personal limitations.

So, what are you waiting for?

Warren Knight thanks Mitch Joel


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