Everybody wants to make the world a better place for the next generation and most people today think about the environment and going green as the best way to save the world and help our children. The environment has definitely taken a beating through this “disposable age” of pollution, disposable utensils and pretty much plastic everything, and helping turn things around is absolutely a noble cause. I think it is great that so many companies are going green but that is not the only way to help make the world a better place.
Think about the internet and how it has changed the way we do business, communicate with each other, and how it makes life a whole lot easier at times. We can talk to relatives across the world face to face for free, we can find friends that we lost contact with many years ago and we can instantly be notified when something important happens in the world. On top of everything else, the internet is the best place on earth to do research and learn everything about anything. Wikipedia is often the first place to look when researching a topic or wanting to find out about a specific event.
Now think about the services that you use personally, how they are helping the world and how they got started.
Wikipedia: The Encyclopedia Built on Passion
Wikipedia is run by thousands of extremely passionate people who take it upon themselves to make sure that every article is as accurate and up to date as possible. Don’t believe me? Try to change a popular entry on Wikipedia to something ridiculous and watch how quickly it gets changed back. There are even people who roam around the site to make sure that words are spelled correctly.
Twitter: One to Many Communication
Twitter is an incredible tool that lets anyone broadcast whatever they want to many people at a time. During the semi-recent Iran election, a country dead-set on silencing its citizens was unable to compete with Twitter’s ability to get the news out into the public. It also allows individuals to network with people outside of their circles and comfort zones like never before. During local emergencies, like a bomb in Times Square, there is no quicker way to get the word out. (Follow me @flid2)
Foursquare: Location Based Social Network/Game
Foursquare is a relatively new social game that is played from your smart phone that allows you to tag locations every time you go out. You can compete in your local city for points or for the title of “Mayor” of specific locations. It all seems pretty pointless at first glance but there are tons of benefits to the game. It can introduce you to people with common interests by showing you who else has been to the same venues as you and also introduce you to venues you otherwise would never know about. Each time you check in, you can see which of your friends are at the same location. By being somewhat competitive, it also encourages you to go out more often instead of just staying at home. To help others out, you can leave a tip at any location such as “get the poutine, it’s awesome” at a certain restaurant or “say hi to Tony for great service”. (Friend me @flid2)
Yelp: Review the World
Yelp is another location tagging platform but one of the main ideas on Yelp is to leave reviews about any place that you go to. When you are walking down the street and trying to decide which of the 20 places to eat, wouldn’t you love to be able to read reviews about each before stepping in? You can do that from the palm of your hand. Not only that, but on the newer versions of the iPhone, they introduced what they call “monocle mode” where you can just point the camera of your iPhone in any direction and see what’s around you and worth doing. (Friend me on Yelp)
Amazon.com: Buy Books and Products Based on Reviews by People Like You
When buying a book, there’s no better place to go than Amazon.com. Because of them, you never need guess which books are going to be worth reading. You can just scroll through the reviews and get a good idea of what would be right up your alley. At a regular book store, you will get the store’s expert opinion but on Amazon, you will get reviews from tens or hundreds of people just like you. Because of the amount of people that use the site, they have a great recommendation engine which suggests books that you would like based on what you have previously purchased and other people with similar interest’s recent purchases.
These platforms don’t just make life more convenient and easier, they can even save lives. People are sharing their knowledge online. Doctors are communicating better. You can find videos online on how to do CPR and other life saving techniques. People are able to eat healthier and exercise better because of information online. Charities and non-profit organizations with great causes are now able to reach more people. The benefits are immeasurable.
All of these platforms work because early adopters take the time to use them, write reviews, tag locations and take the time to make them as helpful as possible for the next person. Who knows how helpful they will be in 10 years from now. I can just picture being stuck traveling in the middle of nowhere, turning on your phone and finding every restaurant, gas station, bathroom, coffee shop and visitors center in a 25 mile radius, all with reviews and tips.
A couple of weeks ago I mapped out a route on Google maps and found a mistake. I sent Google some feedback with their mistake and how it can be corrected on their maps. My sister was amazed that I took the time to report the mistake and asked why. I told her, I am just trying to make the world a better place.
How are you making the world a better place?Photo Credit William Hook