Dateline: Liverpool, England
Like many new technologies, social media has applications that range from trivial and irritating to profound and liberating. Those of us who care about our personal freedom and the quality of our standard of living can garner substantial utility from the better aspects of social media.
It’s not just the technical ability to communicate with each other directly. It’s the ability to differentiate individuals by their personal interests, age, location, and dozens of other social and intellectual preferences.
If you are a middle-aged Canadian, living in France and looking for people like you who are interested in precious metals and world travel, it’s possible to find those exact kindred spirits. The same is true for almost any combination of interests and demographics. That ability is basically unprecedented in all human history.
The End of Intellectual Isolation
Have you ever said to yourself, “Am I the only guy who thinks the world has gone crazy?”
One thing is for sure, you can’t say we don’t live in interesting times. The countries with the four largest currencies in the world have all reached rarified altitudes of debt to GDP simultaneously.
Sure, individual fiat currencies throughout history have all eventually gone bust, but when have the ones that make up 70% of the entire world’s economy been at such high risk simultaneously? That’s not normal.
Most of us in developed Western countries have grown up with basic legal protections of search, seizure of our property and personal privacy of our affairs. Now our cars, belongings and even our bodies are subject to impromptu examination by police and security officers on the flimsiest pretense.
Our every financial transaction and electronic communication is recorded and stored indefinitely.
Should a political administration, present of future, every wish to put one of us in the crosshairs of persecution, every scrap of data will be available to vilify any of us, again, on the flimsiest pretense.
That’s not normal.
Many of us think all of this is crazy. But, jousting from mainstream offline media, we seem to be in a minority. Social media eliminates that isolation. Online, it’s easily possible to find and communicate with like-minded people who have a similar world view.
In fact, that is why Andrew started The Nomad Society and why I attend live events… to enjoy life and profit through networking.
The End of Filtered News
In a related area, the big news organization in every major country seems to be in league with the powers of the status quo. Crazy economic ideas like printing trillions of dollars, yen, pounds, and euros, and offering negative interest rates to banks, are presented with a straight face.
Simultaneous drone wars in a dozen sovereign countries are presented as prudent, sensible and fully legal foreign policy.
Thanks to social media, any and all of us can exchange alternative opinions about how finance and international relations might better be conducted.
Financial sources like ZeroHedge can offer contradictory viewpoints and offer their own evidence for their assertions. We are free to choose which arguments have more merits, the conventional or the contrarian.
A wide variety of alternative news sites, many clearly with their own bias, nevertheless offer news stories and viewpoints almost never heard on the mainstream news outlets.
This can be a welcome comfort for those of us who aren’t prone to drinking the Kool-Aid sold to us by the media companies and the politicians they relentlessly promote. Especially those of us who support no politicians.
Importantly, social media allows all of us to share and discuss these different points of view and collect like-mined people into our circle of friends and acquaintances.
The End of Jingoism
Americans take a lot of flak for always waving their flag and declaring they have the best country in the world. Fair enough.
But ask a Canadian, Brit, or Dane what the best country in the world is and odds are he’ll be readily equipped with all the reasons his native land is actually #1 globally.
The fact is, most countries start very early in a citizen’s life telling him or her all the reasons why they are more special than others. It doesn’t help that every election cycle there’s a rising tide of blaming that points a finger at inferior immigrants.
Social media exposes us to people from outside our bubble. We can not only meet people from other countries, we can see firsthand they are often smarter than we are. Maybe they speak more languages.
Maybe they have an insight that never occurred to us. Maybe they have solutions we’ve never considered. Soon, we realize that where a person was born and raised has very little significance on an individual basis. The truth is, every country has people to be proud of and people to be ashamed of.
Nationality is irrelevant as a metric of character and intelligence. And there are many wonderful places to live on this planet.
In an even more positive emerging paradigm, nations as a coercive political entity are openly seen as increasingly irrelevant and perhaps (a guy can dream) moving toward obsolescence.
When millions of us can connect and interact socially and commercially based on shared values and life goals, we can increase our personal satisfaction, our personal wealth and increase the general harmony in the world.
Call me a hopeless optimist, but when I think of social media I look way beyond cat videos and see a giant step toward individual freedom.