The digital world gives us a mixture of boons and banes. While I often harp on about its curses, today I shall look at one of its biggest blessings.
The worlds, with its 7.6 billion people offers so much opportunity for meaningful connection. Traditionally, people could only reach out by using broadcasting – transmitting information relevant to a critical mass of people who are concentrated closely enough for it to make economic sense. And the economic challenges of broadcasting have always been formidable. Moreover, this information needs to be reduced to a common denominator of what its audience, considered as a massive homogeneous group, is interested in.
But humans no longer live in homogeneous masses. There has been no time in history when people have been more different from their next door neighbours.
The internet has broken this stand-off in several ways – my favourite being podcasts. Today it costs incrementally nothing to listen to an Icelandic voice in the US, vis-a-vis New Zealand. We now live in the era of narrow-casting, whereby the internet has enabled some of the most unusual, but talented voices to have an audience. One of my favourite podcasters, Dan Carlin, describes it best. He calls himself a street-artist who just happens to work at a really busy street corner – something that the internet, and the internet alone could have gifted him.
There has never been a better time to seek out busy street corners.