August 27, 2012

Building a Conscious Community Through the Internet.

photo: flickr/Luc Legay

You cannot surf the internet these days without stumbling across another blog.

When I started to write this piece, a few months ago, I really toiled with myself; did I have anything worthwhile to contribute? What would I write about? And, would anyone read it?

Increasingly, over the last ten years, the internet has become a major part of our daily lives.

Recent stats show that eight out of ten people on earth are now on Facebook; nine out of ten internet users are now on a social network.(1) In addition, one out of every six people, in the world, now have a personal blog.(2)

In the United Kingdom alone, there are an estimated 450 million “active” blogs at present, contributing to a rapidly expanding online community.(3)

Sharing our voices online can be a powerful vehicle of social change.

A huge turning point for people in the United Kingdom was the 2003 antiwar protest in London.

It was coordinated with countries all over the world to protest against the war in Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan; the BBC estimated that about one million people took part, in Britain, alone. And yet, the government did nothing to respond—the war continued, leaving many of us feeling that our voices were considered less important than those of the elites.

In future, I feel the internet will become more and more essential for empowering the individual; with the increasing division between the haves and have nots, university fees rising, benefits being reduced, I believe it is our obligation to make a contribution, no matter how small, to the whole.

It is already happening; the exponential growth of the Avaaz website is testament to how powerful an online community can be.

“Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.”(4)

The instantaneous nature of the internet gives power to groups, like Avaaz, to mobilize and respond to current issues, immediately. Avaaz now has over 15 million members—and is growing all the time.

I am buoyed and excited by the notion that this type of model will, in future, have an even greater influence over policies and decisions that are all too often held in the hands of a powerful and privileged few; only through unity can we truly bring about change.

Social media is a way of tapping into a rich cross section of communities and uniting people worldwide; it transcends the usual boundaries and divisions that separate us in day-to-day life.

When writing my own pieces, I am amazed out how the construction and research of each post engages me with other blogs, research and ideas—this method of sharing therefore perpetuates a growing awareness, breeding active participation—both online and in the world.

Yoga is about union and relationship in the present moment; I see blogging as an essential aspect of teaching, relating and uniting with the community around me.

In the yoga community, there are now thousands of blogs bringing yoga philosophy and ideas to the masses. Independent sites, like elephant journal, are pioneering a new form of media that cannot be dominated by the huge media moguls (like Murdoch) who dictate the information that is received to their own ends.

These sites—and those like them—feature blogs from a range of people, giving a platform for a global community voice.

Producing information online is much cheaper than the old-fashioned papers and magazines, thereby enabling small local, independent magazines to exist online, giving a space to vocalize different perspectives in a way that just wasn’t possible before.

I am whole-heartedly inspired and uplifted by this new generation of media, with hopes that it will help to foster, connection, creativity and enquiry, that filters into something tangible and real, in daily life.

“This is a source of great hope: that our dreams rhyme and that, together, we can build the bridge from the world we have to the world we all want.” (5)

And within this, is union.

(1) The Psychology of Social Networking by Michael Sebastian, PR Daily, 2012; (2, 3) So How Many Blogs Are There Anyway? by Jim Haynes, Hattrick Associates, 2011; (4, 5) Avaaz, 2012.


Editor: Bryonie Wise

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