Networked technologies are changing our world every day. One of the companies
responsible for the framework that allows us to connect is Cisco Systems.
This corporation is no startup -- they have been around since 1984 and were actually
the most valuable company in the world during the dot com boom. In their new web
series, "My Networked Life", they did an innovative job of showcasing twelve people
worldwide, and that is just what the network allows us to do.
This "life blood" of networked technology, as I called it (I was lucky to be chosen as one
of the twelve), is truly just that. It is the backdrop to whatever play we, as users, decide
to act out.
Social media has become a collective force in shaping an outcome on a global stage.
From the rise of the Arab Spring to the current U.S. presidential elections, we are seeing
how it is changing our history. Our ability to connect widely does not always translate as
connecting deeply; however, at Lovesocial.org, we are trying to make the latter stand
In 2010, we supported Josh Fox and his now Oscar-nominated documentary,
Gasland. Our goal was to empower those affected by hydraulic fracturing and allow them, as a community, to create a collective voice to affect change -- and they did. A
moratorium was passed on fracking that year, and thousands mobilized petitions and
rallies through social networks.
This year, we supported the documentary MissRepresentation in creating a three-day
social media ﬂash mob promoting healthy body image and putting a blast on
photoshopping. Within hours, the editors of many magazines publicly responded and
Seventeen magazine even pledged to never alter a girlʼs face or body.
There are trillions of terabytes of data being exchanged online, and there is no speciﬁc
rhyme or reason why you may come across one issue over an another, unless it is
triggered my many conversations and the algorithm gods place it on your feed.
While passive discovery may inspire you to take a basic action such as a re-tweet or
share, it is the step you take after this click that matters. This means researching the not
for proﬁt that you are supporting further, and sometimes beyond tweets and donations,
looking to see how you can apply your talent, skill set or just time to the issue at hand.
The content of the discovery plays into this as well. The stronger the story, the stronger
the outcome. Earlier this year a 9 year old by the name of Caine spent his Summer
building an elaborate arcade inside his dadʼs auto part store, and the story became a
viral success and has spurred a scholarship fund. Not necessarily a "cause" but a great
reminder of what makeʼs people care about one another -- an point of context we can
These are a few of thousands of examples of what can happen when individuals bind
together and stand for something. Whatever the cause, individual or collective, you can
create or help create a positive outcome overnight.
Every day we have choices to make, and this applies to our energy expenditure online.
The stage is set. What are you going to do with it?
My Networked Life: True Stories from a Connected World is a documentary-style video
series that takes you around the world for a look at how young professionals,
entrepreneurs, artists and students are using connected technology to achieve goals
and realize dreams. These stories are personal, they are real and they are powerful.
Follow Azita Ardakani on Twitter: www.twitter.com/azita