TED Conversations

John Mardlin

Organic Vegetable Producer/Marketer, Saanich Organics

TEDCRED 500+

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Will social media reverse or amplify the trend towards individualism?

The industrial revolution and then the rise of the middle class brought on a wave of indivualism: increased mobility and decreased family ties. Increasing technology, the piano, the printing press, the turntables, the blog, have further bolstered the ability to express our individualism. This has led to more art, more expression, more creative ventures and increased capitalism. Global transportation has given us the ability to leave our small towns and our families, in search of greener pastures.

On the other hand, Social Media helps us to empathize with and understand other people, and sometimes put their needs ahead of ours more readily. We can seek greener pastures, but remain connected to our families and our tribes and expand those groups.

There are numerous signs of increasing mutualism and altruism online. Things that are more often recognized within a tribe of friends or a family setting. Will individualism continue to be bolstered by technology, while still increasing mutualism? Can they coexist, do they reinforce one another?

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Closing Statement from John Mardlin

I really appreciate your comments Ken! Perhaps I can distill it down somewhat; when a certain form of ones individuality, that is the open-minded, knowledge and experience seeking self grows to a certain point, then the mutualistic self is freed from the herd mentality and becomes truer and stronger.

Thank you for your contribution.

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