As many of you know, I am in the Global MBA program through Thunderbird. This program has helped me to look at the world with a new global eye. Recently, I was reflecting on social media and the rise of Web 2.0 tools. I have been reading the book Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide and it sparked a thought. I know of no other technological advancement that has brought the world together like Web 2.0.
If you think about it, in the past we were limited by phone and face-to-face contact to build relationships internationally. The Internet, or Web 1.0, helped us to view online brochures from other people and companies from around the world. However, with blogging, social communities, and wikis, we can build relationships virtually and instantaneously.
There are people with whom I am connected on my LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles who I have never met but who live in various countries around the world. I am fascinated by the depth of knowledge I have access to just in my own personal networks. Many of these people have blogs (that I try and read as often as I can) and when I have a cultural or subject matter question, they are more than accommodating.
Globalization has been painted with both positive and negative strokes. However, it is my belief that the advancements in Web 2.0 have done more to accelerate globalization than any government, organization, or treaty.
In the end, we are all just human beings sharing an existence. As I have had the chance to watch the Olympics with my kids and have them ask me why people from other countries wear or do certain things, I have had a chance to reflect on how small the world really is. I have been fortunate enough to visit several foreign places in my career and am amazed that no matter where I go, people are basically the same.
No matter what your opinion of globalization is, one thing is true: we can all benefit from greater tolerance, understanding, and simply growing closer together as a human race. Lest I begin to sound like the latest Al Gore documentary, my purpose in writing this post is to highlight the greater purpose and benefit of the social networking technologies available today. While social networking helps build collective knowledge and relationships, it also helps us expand beyond borders and beyond cultures.
How have you experienced greater international exposure and understanding through your Web 2.0 efforts?