This is my first post relating to my IDL 831 Leadership and Technologies Class. Those of you who are taking this exciting course with me understand this, but we must also realize that these posts have the potential of be seen by countless millions of people all around the world. This knowledge is supported by the fact that the Internet, on which this page of information is being posted, has the potential to reach the outermost fringes of our world. Thus, what we blog here in this relatively small cyber classroom has the potential to affect the masses. I therefore direct my thoughts inwardly that I might learn from you, and outwardly, that I may share our collective thoughts with those whom, though invisible to me, may be giants in their own realm of influence.
Is The World Flat or Spikey
This week’s topic of discussion rests on the question of whether the world is flat, that is to say, a level playing field, or spikey, which means concentrated into only a few elite urban areas (Florida, 2005). Richard Florida (2005) argues that concentrations of innovations exacerbate the economic and social disparities that already exist around the world (Florida, 2005). Further, it is proposed that if the trend continues to rise, the divide will require a consorted political effort to solve in the coming decades (Florida, 2005). On the other side of the coin, Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his work in the subject matter, believes that technology has leveled the playing field in the area of innovations globally. Friedman (2005) contends, that the ability to adapt and specialize where need is, drives a global economy, and that this drive can be realized by anyone, anywhere and at any time as long as they tap into the endless resources technology provides (Friedman, 2005).
has long been my belief that the boundless potential of a free market society is driven by those who are willing to put their time, effort and muscle into innovative products, services, and ideas. That said, technology has given more people the opportunity to make their voices heard. Technologies like the Internet, as one example, have allowed the masses to share ideas and ultimately achieve great things. Technology has truly made the world flat. It has given everyone the ability to excel. There are a few deterrents to this ability to excel. Certainly, there are those who do not have the drive or the ability to utilize the vast amount of freedom technology affords. This is not unlike the problems that have occurred as the result of technologies from past centuries. Over-all, however, technology has made even the poorest, in the United States for example, recipients of far more leisure than the vast majority of our ancestors.
It can be said that there are many countries that remain in poverty, even in the electronic age. Yet, it can also be said that there are many oppressive governments still active in many parts of our world, thus making technology less productive in such areas. This does not diminish the fact that spikes can be flattened for the benefit of all through technological advance. We can fly around the world in a day, send an email in a minute and call a friend in a second. This certainly proves, at least in my mind, that the world truly is flat, and that the spikes are only as high and sharp as oppressive regimes allow them to be. As for the fact that spike-less areas reside in every area of the world even under the banner of freedom, this phenomena is largely exacerbated by many that fail to take advantage of all that technology offers. That is where leadership comes into play. It is the duty of our leaders to help the masses reach their potential through education. In this class, we were instructed to watch a video by Clay Shirky. He states emphatically that an individual has the potential to get a message out the world at any time they want (Shirky, 2009). That statement along with many of his other statements leads me to believe that he believes that the world is as flat as I do. In his ending statement, he gives us the key to how this can happen by stating the question, “how can we make the best use of this medium, even if it means changing the way we’ve always done it” (Shirky, 2009)? The answer, I believe, is changing how people view technology through education, positive reinforcement, and progressive leadership.