The power of the Internet as a tool for collaboration

I read Thomas L Friedman’s book, The World is Flat many years ago, and I still find the book an amazing read. A true visionary, he describes in detail the forces that truly flatten the earth, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the invention of the internet, the standardization of collaborative tools and the empowerment of individuals and globalization as the result of the these forces. 

Let us take a look back at some of the forces Friedman listed out in his book that is applicable to the issues here. He mentioned these:

The rise of Netscape (and internet). By providing a medium where information can be shared, it rose to become a platform where suddenly, the explosion of information occurred, because people are able to upload content and share with people from around the world, which leads to the second point.

Uploading. Communities and individuals can upload content, share ideas and report stuff, write news and blogs in what matters most and let their voices be heard. This explosion of information, though messy as it was, leads to the next point.

Informing. The rise of the search giants, like Google and Yahoo, now gives us a powerful platform to find the information you want just by searching the net. Now, rather than swimming in a sea of information, you can zoom straight at the things you wanna read, hear or see. With a search tool at out fingertips, we now needs a medium where we can categorize them, share them, and process it further, this leads to the next point.

The Steroids. The inventions of ipods, instant messaging, rss, smartphones, and stuff. Now we can take these info anyway and get updated anytime of the day, with the discretion of what you wanna see, hear or read by prioritising it.

So with these 4 short points, this leads me to youtube. An excellent platform, on the INTERNET, where people can UPLOAD and share videos and ideas, INFORMING people from all walks of life and you can view them ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.

The dynamics or social phenomenon is everywhere around you. This is one of my many personal examples why such forces mentioned is so rampant and happening everywhere, every single second.

I have been a fan of Boyce Avenue, an acoustic band made up of siblings who came together and rewrote some of the more popular songs that we hear on radio to give a more acoustic twist. I wish they would come to Singapore to perform. The lead singer’s woody, smokey voice and his acoustic talents is really captivating. I discovered him by accident on YOUTUBE and I even downloaded (and paid) for some of their songs on itunes. Such discoveries are classic examples where with the advent of the Internet, people like you and me, can really take on the world stage and let your voice be heard, literally. You may not be a singer or have a talent in singing. You may have an idea, or something to show to the world and with the Internet, it can be heard everywhere with just a click of a button.

So the band recently came up with a mashup of two really popular songs, ‘Circus’ by Britney Spears and ‘Just Dance’ by Lady Gaga.

I love the rendition. Its poignant and fresh. A few days later, I encountered another made by Ervey 105. I had no idea who this guy is still a few days ago. What he did was a true classic example of COLLABORATION, SHARING, and UPLOADING on the INTERNET

Now after hearing this, my god…. this guy is a genius. You have got to watch this in HD with your speakers cranked up to see the creativity in him. He reworked Boyce’s rendition which he reworked from the originals. With this, it goes to show that anyone can do anything and make your presence felt anywhere in the world. Im sure you have your own stories to tell, moments where you feel that with the internet, you feel empowered. This sense of empowerment can be felt within you too. Take facebook or twitter for example. Dont you feel good when you twit or comment little snippets of info update to the world about what you do, where you go, what you buy, or simply sharing stuff that you like to other people. With the internet, we can CONNECT, COLLABORATE AND COMPETE.

Another example, Susan Boyles. She was a nobody. When she auditioned in Britain’s Got Talent and when that piece of audition was released on youtube, she became an overnight celebrity. The show wasnt even aired on most tv networks around the world at the point of time. So how did millions of people get to know her within 48 hours after the show was aired? It’s the power of the Internet. I remembered, clicking on that video because it was on the top of the list of most watched at the time, and I can still feel the sense of wonderment and shocked when I heard her sing for the first time. She unknowingly became a part of the social networking revolution, where a piece of content was UPLOADED on the INTERNET and SHARED with other people.

Even Jay Leno took advantage of that to further his publicity stunt.

The list of youtubers turned celebrities is endless. Im not gonna list them all you can see it for yourself.

There are so many other examples

and on and on and on.

This example can be replicated in almost any setting. The power to collaborate and at the same time compete, in any sector of the industry from engineering, healthcare, in every village, town, city and country, it has became a powerful leveling tool can would no doubt be a great game changer around the world. It would be sad to not take advantage of the tools we have now to improve our lives.

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