Collective Intelligence, Collective Compassion

In a previous post, I argued that as users of social media and as people striving for collective intelligence, that the “Borg” character from Star Trek is something we should aspire to.  Certainly, the idea of being able to immediately and seamlessly work together to solve a problem quickly or react to a situation in new and different ways, is something that we as human communities want to do.

It would have been great to have this kind of “borg-like” learning and response to the natural disasters of 2011- for example, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear issues in Japan. Note that my example is NOT about making more money, it’s about humanitarian aid.

The potential for “social media/collective intelligence” to engender COLLECTIVE COMPASSION might be the most powerful use of social media. We already see examples of this.  We see kids with terminal diseases who want to “trend” on twitter – we help make that happen.  We provide moral and even financial support  to people far away. And I do not mean just earthquake victims. I mean people we barely know, yet to whom we are connected in some way.

This past year, Rob Novak blogged about his friend Troy Reimer’s son, who has a serious disease. Many of us responded with words (emails/tweets/postings) of encouragement and with donations.

Also, Mitch Cohen tweeted about his wife’s battle with cancer, encouraged her to blog, and received various types of emotional support thanks to social media.

Most recently, my friend Maureen Leland mentioned that a teenage relative of hers had been injured in a hockey accident and is hospitalized. She pointed me to a facebook page, a Caringbridge page, and a web site for donations to offset the medical bills that had all been set up to support the kid. And yes, I went and posted word of encouragement.

Sure, we need to do business and make money, and collective intelligence can help us to do that. But collective compassion might be the key to taking the next step towards “perfection.”


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