Sunday, November 13, 2011

Superpowers and the Grandmother Rule

Technology makes smart people smarter, and it makes dumb people dumber. Or better put, technology “allows” people to amplify who they really are, deep down inside.  Twitter, Facebook, YouTube – these technologies give the masses a voice.  Everyone with access to a keyboard or a webcam is now a writer, a blogger or video artist.

Technology has the ability to heal or harm. Distance learning can change the world, and provide amazing opportunities to the world’s youth.  But the same technology that powers distance learning can also spread a message of hate.

Who first said "with great power comes great responsibility"?

Despite what Marvel and the movies would have us believe, this epic and powerful quote does not come from a Hollywood script writing team but from the revolutionary ridden and passionate literary haven that was 19th century France. Credit has been given to Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman) Franklin D. Roosevelt and even Winston Churchill at various stages, however the first literary record of this can be attributed to Francois-Marie Arouet aka Voltaire. Much like Victor Hugo, Voltaire was disturbed by the sickening abuse of authority and privilege by those in power while the poor and deprived starved and suffered around him.

Technology changes lives.  Just as gunpowder changed modern warfare, the Internet and “near free” instantaneous global voice and video communication have completely changed the world.

This blog (once posted) has the capacity of having millions of people read it and comment on it.  It can be tweeted, reposted, forwarded, and it can circle the globe in seconds. The same goes for videos, emails and tweets that we all send every day. How many of us stop and think about the power that we possess, that we almost always take for granted?

The Spiderman movies of the past ten years have recycled the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility”. The technology of today has indeed given “superpowers” to all of us, without having to endure the pain a radioactive spider bite.

As this quote from Voltaire (and Stan Lee) reminds us, we all have the power to help or hurt, to do good or to do harm, every single day.

My advice, please use your superpowers wisely. One way to do this is to remember the Grandmother Rule. Before you blog about it, tweet about it, or upload it to YouTube, stop and ask yourself this question: would your grandmother approve?

Would your grandmother be proud of you, if she read your latest post on Facebook?  Or your wife, or your husband, or your kids?  Please - use your superpowers for good and not evil. 

No comments:

Post a Comment