Floodwaters and Connectivity
Right now the floodwaters are rising, threatening to cut off my town for the second time within days and it’s till raining, relentless driving rain.
The flood helps me reflect on how dependent we are on the transportation network. The flood severs the network unilaterally and often destroys infrastructure. As soon as the main highways or rail lines are cut the supply line up and down the coast is halted, food, fuel, medicine, industrial supplies. For many it’s only a matter of a day or two before their activities grind to halt. You can’t argue with floodwaters you just find alternatives until the alternatives run out then you wait.
Crippled, it is then we realise how interconnected and interdependent we are on each other no matter the distance. We become isolated communities, then we move to the next level of connectivity for relief, sharing. My resources become our resources because it’s a matter of survival, and you don’t want to be the only survivor, you need company, besides who’s going to read your Facebook posts if you’re the last person on earth.
Isn’t that what’s happening to the Internet, attempts to create isolated communities are being resisted, as connectivity increases. We reach out with Chat and SMS, my resources become your resources – iCloud, Sharing becomes easier because through social media we have recognised that we have a similar desire, the ‘pursuit of happiness’. Why now? We have all been aware of world events before through the mass media, but rarely did it encourage our empathy. Generally it encouraged the sense of ‘I’m glad it’s them and not me’ lets go shopping.
Social media offers an insight into the daily struggle of millions, the struggles we can all relate to like breakfast and relationship issues. If your sitting comfortably in a sunny spot reading this, and have never been in a flood, the rising waters around me don’t matter to you, but when I post that the cat or the dog is out of food and it could be 3-4 days before we can get supplies, you can relate to the basic uncomfortableness of the situation. We connect on a very simple level, our mutual concern for the plight of the pet.
As Paralympians and disabled athletes have demonstrated, sometimes you need to become cripple before you can reach your full potential. Draconian censorship laws may be in the offing, but there is one fact: the algorithm is on the side of freedom and openness, The Internet has shown us that all people have the same desire, but not always a similar plight. So go forth and connect, grow from isolated communities into a thriving global matrix .