When Facebook recently launched its "Peace on Facebook" section, many were puzzled: Why would a site which initially catered to college freshmen have the gumption to identify itself with world peace?
But a closer look suggests Facebook is onto something beguiling. Despite the "version 1.0" feel of the site, there are two remarkable components. First, Facebook presents information regarding friendships crossing national, religious and political boundaries which is very compelling. Just yesterday, for example, 5567 Israelis and Palestinians "friended" on Facebook - and that's probably a good thing. Second, the site presents poll data on "can we achieve world peace in 50 years", a wonderful example of a concrete, relevant metric that Facebook can easily generate. (Plus, who would believe that 30% of Colombians answer that question "yes", while only 10% of Americans do?)
So congratulations to Facebook. Peace on Facebook is a great start.
But world peace it ain't (yet). Let’s think ambitiously for a minute – how could Facebook do more to promote world peace?
The Peace on Facebook initiative is part of a larger "Peace Dot" movement catalyzed by BJ Fogg and colleagues at Stanford University. The new initiative, though still amorphous, appears compelling enough that it might coalesce into something of genuine consequence. Already there is early participation not only from Facebook, but also Ashoka, Care2, Safeway, and others.
The truth is the planet has become tightly wired together very recently -- much of it in the last few years (or even months) -- and nobody really understands the full implications of that. Undoubtedly there are astounding opportunities lurking for communication, cooperation and peace. Maybe "Peace on Facebook" isn't a silly notion at all, and we are all actually greatly underestimating the opportunity.
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