my microcast

When we think of social media, the first thing that comes to our minds are the various electronic platforms that operate it. We associate it with services that range from MySpace to Twitter, and from Yahoo! to LinkedIn. Our understanding of social media is quite shallow. Yet, in fairness, the term ‘social media’ itself is rather vague. Which media isn’t social anyway? Some people like to call it ‘new media’, which is more accurate – today – but not tomorrow.

There seems to be a consensus that when we say ‘media’, we mean the electronic forms of communicating information. Social media, at least as we perceive it today, dates back to the introduction of telegraphy in the 1840s. Today, we can easily stream high-resolution videos from our basements across the world. Skimming through its recent history, however, shows less the evolution of media and more that of society. It reminds us that people haven’t always been thought of as people. Slaves, peasants, laborers and sometimes women had to wait a long time to get empowerment and recognition

A thousand years ago, Alfred the Great empowered England with literacy. Today, we are empowered with keyboards. Whether we live in warzones or at the very bottom of a society, we now can connect across the globe in ways that Alexander the Great couldn’t have dreamed of. When we use the term ‘social media’, we’re really referring to the media of a new society. It’s made of individuals who are in the process of being acknowledged as people.

This is us, you and me. Thisis our new media. Microcast.

We now live in a troubled world, which is not unusual when considering all history. Yet, what is unique about our current world is that it has more people than ever. We’re not just larger in numbers, but also in personalities. Every one of us is aware of his or her ego in that sometimes we’re even being accused of narcissism. I’m not here to deny that narcissism is everywhere, and, I suspect, it can even be detected here, on Damascus Diary. Yet, this is only a temporary side effect of empowerment.

We call this kind of communication many things, but I like the term microcast, because it’s precise. It’s a telegraph infant that grew into a baby telephone before it became a know-it-all computer in all its shapes and sizes. The whole purpose of this medium is to link two people at once. Just like a telephone call, this text is an end-to-end communication. This is a conversation that will sustain our egos and rid us of our narcissism.

Note that the “comment” section below is locked. I feel uncomfortable about the imbalance between blogs and comments. If you have something to say about this post, why don’t you write a whole new blog and post it on your WordPress? If you tag me in your post – by linking part of your text to this page, for example – WordPress will notify me about what you write. I will gladly read your post, so your words will be heard. Together, we complete the conversation.

Do you see how powerful this is?

A dear friend of mine once asked me about the fundamental reason that led Syria from being one of the most stable countries in the Middle East to the most violent warzone in the world. I gave him the most honest answer I had: generational gaps. Those gaps between various generations and within them have led to a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. This is why we’re at war.

Yet, who am I to give one reason for the collective failure of a whole nation? I’ve spent the last two years reflecting on my own failures. The truth is I feel like a failure, so I need to self-reflect. Where did it all go wrong for me? Perhaps if I start to answer this question, it will be a first step to understanding where it all went wrong for Syria – and the whole world – because, at the end of the day, the world is made of individuals just like me and you.

Therefore, I’ve started this microcast.

I know that whatever I write here will not be enough. I have so much to tell you, and I want you to get it all. Yet, none of it will matter if you don’t respond in the same way. After all, you and I are tiny little pixels in a big picture. Without you, I’m just a single meaningless pixel. This microcast is a long-distance phone call that is reaching out to you, dear surfer. Whether you live next door, or on the other side of the earth, I can’t bridge that distance unless you speak to me.

Just because I have a greater reach than Alexander the Great, it doesn’t mean that I don’t need you.

I do.

Published by Rou Mani

Abdo Roumani holds a Licence of Letters in English literature from Damascus University.

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