Thursday, October 29, 2009

We Are All Connected-There's Much To Be Learned

The video below really grabbed me this morning. Partly it's the passion and statements made by Sagan and others such as:

"I find it elevating and exhilarating
To discover that we live in a universe
Which permits the evolution of molecular machines
As intricate and subtle as we"

I'm in a rare introspective mood at the moment. I spent an exhilarating two hours learning via twitter early this morning. I'm excited by simple discoveries and derive pleasure in finding things out. But in this moment, I'm wondering about the impact of my discoveries, my connections, my learning, etc. Am I doing anything to make the world a better place? Could my time be better spent volunteering in a homeless shelter or assisting with numerous other face to face needs? I guess that depends.

I was going to use the video above to segue into another post on connections and why I love twitter, connectivism, social media, our exciting new participatory culture, etc. I'm fascinated by these tools and concepts and sometimes wonder why. Mostly, for myself, I think it has to do with a sense of empowerment.

Since discovering what used to be called Web 2.0 back in 2004, and what seems now to just be the Internet, I've been pretty caught up in social media of all kinds. As Seth Godin explains ordinary people now have the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so. But, again, I'm wondering how much positive change, if any, I'm making.

This NY Times Magazine article from last week really hit home, especially this last paragraph:
I’m not wishing the Internet away. It has become so integral to my work — to my life — that I honestly can’t recall what I did without it. But it has allowed us to reflexively indulge every passing interest, to expect answers to every fleeting question, to believe that if we search long enough, surf a little further, we can hit the dry land of knowing “everything that happens” and that such knowledge is both possible and desirable. In the end, though, there is just more sea, and as alluring as we can find the perpetual pursuit of little thoughts, the net result may only be to prevent us from forming the big ones.
And I've been realizing that though I'm a very connected person, and I know a little about a lot of things in a few areas, my learning is not as deep as it should be. Nor are my connections. I'm feeling a need to live a more balanced life and to make my life matter more (yes, I'm a baby boomer).

Finding balance has been a lifelong struggle. But I think I'm ready to try again as I suspect balance could be key to my living a healthier and more impactful life. I was encouraged recently by this blog post by @KentBottles (a twitter bud) titled, "What Have I Learned About Keeping Myself Healthy, Happy and Well."

It also helps me to remember, as stated in the video above by Nye, "really, I'm just a speck." Not that each little speck can't make some difference.