Expressive Capability

December 10, 2010

Hear me now! Today I can write this, and many more people will ‘hear me now’ than ever before.

This has been a hot topic of discussion at Gould and everywhere. Mr. Bean’s AP Composition class presented a view on breadth and depth of Facebook, and the news show 60 Minutes interviewed Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg last week.

“The moment our historical generation is living through is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.” Director of Communications Mr. Kimball shared this idea with us from Clay Shirky in assembly the other day.

So what does it mean? For me, it means that I can be heard. For example, once I post this blog, anyone on the internet will be able to read what I’ve written. That’s mildly exciting.

But, what is really exciting is that I can be heard by people who have power. For example, this week El-Fadel Arbab, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur, spoke at Gould. His story was one of inexpressible terror and loss. After the talk, Mrs. Alford said that it made her wish that we could do more to help stop the genocide. We, citizens of Gould, cannot stop it. But, with the internet, we have a lot more ability to create change than I think we realize…

First of all, we know about the genocide. That, in part, is due to our access to the internet. We can get the facts on the internet, and we can express how we feel about those facts on the internet.

Mr. Kimball closed with the fact that as members of social media, we have a lot of responsibility. I agree. We have the responsibility of informing ourselves about issues we care about. And once we have learned about an issue, we have the responsibility of using our knowledge to influence those issues. It is responsibility, yes, but I like to think of it as ability.  As Clay Shirky claims, we have more power of expression than any other generation has had before us. I’m going to grab hold of my ability to express. First, I’m going to learn more about the genocide in Darfur. Then, I’m going to visit savedarfur.com, the organization that El-Fadel works with. And then, I’m going to e-mail President Obama about his stance on the genocide.

To hear more of Clay Shirky’s ideas:

Thanks for hearing me.

Alice H

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