Walking into the 92Y in Manhattan on day one of the Social Good Summit, I feel a new kind of buzz. Admittedly, it’s partially induced by the newness of donning heels and blazer and blogger status, credentials swaying as I step into a whole new endeavor. But truly, this buzz is about being a part of something bigger than myself. It’s about participating in a conversation that has no boundaries. All for the sake of goodness.
Goodness and social media. How do these coalesce to place me right in the middle of a packed Social Good Summit auditorium?
In a word, connection.
I came here to see how being digitally connected might serve our heart-to-heart connection. I came here because my heart led me here. Those geniuses at Mashable, 92nd Street Y, United Nations Foundation, Ericsson, United Nations Development Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation knew just the right words to transform an inner flame into a full-blown fire (and they welcomed bloggers for free to boot). They handed us all an invitation that said: come create the future with us.
The Social Good Summit is a global conversation that unites anyone and everyone around how to use new media and technology to solve the world’s most pressing issues. There were live events in New York, Beijing and Nairobi, along with meetups in hundreds of cities across the globe and innumerable others participating online.
I settle into my seat with a deep desire to take part in this open and inclusive conversation and with a knowing that our course has already been altered by the fact that everyone has the opportunity to raise their voice and become part of ONE voice. Hence the buzz I feel, as if we are the future creating itself.
Buzzed but stupefied, I don’t quite know how to adjust in this new seat. There is a program zooming across a stage, speakers serving up beautiful and good words at a fast-food like pace; there are laptops, tablets, mobile devices, seven languages translating in the background. Goodness abounds, yet I feel a scrambling within, determined to type and tweet. How do I open to receive the goodness if I’m concerned with what I’m thinking and transmitting?
I have to slow down and remember why I came here.
By day two, my seat, my new place in the conversation, feels really good as I allow my heart to hear, feel and lead the way. Connecting with what is happening in the moment required an ironic gesture – the closing of my laptop- in a sea of screens harnessing the largest conversation on earth. My new seat lands me next to a young Nigerian man named Yohanna. Thankfully, Yohanna and I get the chance to talk during a much appreciated break, and we agree that we are here because something about the Summit “spoke to the inner part of us.” It wasn’t our minds that told us to think up a solution and get to the Summit. We were guided by that creative place in us that senses new potential. And there, emerging on the stage, confirming Yohanna and I are in the right seats, and yet again what might be considered ironic in a room of digital powerhouses, is this message:
Technology is not the solution. WE ARE THE SOLUTION. And technology is our tool.
That little shift I made from day one to day two is a window into what is happening on a global scale. We are opening to the unique goodness that everybody on this planet can offer, instead of focusing on our own forced solutions through our limited thinking.
In short, we are beginning to use our minds and our technology in service to our hearts. This is the new face of activism, which I will write about in Part II of this blog, highlighting some brilliant speakers at the Summit. Stay tuned!