The internet is used for a lot of things. It makes gameplay, work, and learning faster and easier. It connects individuals, and it is starting to unite people across the world to address social issues and important causes. Viral posts and mobile technology are shaping what we find important as a planet. Here are some examples of recent ways user activities are changing our behaviors and mindsets:
• The death of Cecil the Lion and wildlife conservation – When a trophy-hunting dentist was named in the killing, beheading, and skinning of a popular 13-year old lion in Zimbabwe, the world exploded with Tweets, posts, and overall commentary. Cecil may never have come to the center stage as a symbol for wildlife stewardship if he had not been wearing a conservation-related tracking collar. Technology made the conversation possible.
• The fight against racially motivated arrests/deaths by police officers – What started with the killing of a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 snowballed into stories all over the country of potentially race-motivated police brutality. People from all different backgrounds are using online platforms to push for better transparency in law enforcement, and video feeds from incidents are holding officers and other parties accountable.
• Changing the definition of beauty – The ever-changing definition of beauty is expanding. In an effort to eradicate “body shaming” from cultural normativity, fitness trainers, celebrities, and average people use online media platforms to help men and women feel empowered. The inclusive online culture is battling the flip-side of connectivity in which people are bullied online to the point of taking extreme actions.
With seamless integration in our daily lives, only 15% of adults in the US still avoid using the internet. There are dozens of other examples of how every aspect of our lives is making a difference in the way we live, work, play, and even sleep, but some of these cultural and technological shifts will have a lasting impact on our society as a whole.