Media Globalization! The concept of international integration, exchanging world views and dissolving cultural boundaries. One of my favorite aspects of globalization is is cosmopolitanism as put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes.
Diogenes is credited as being the first to claim he was a “kosmou Polites” meaning citizen of the world or global citizen. The key components of cosmopolitanism as Diogenes saw it were that all people were equal and should all be helping one another, questioning the need for any sort of class system. Another key concept in cosmopolitanism is that a person’s interest in other human beings should not be limited to those within the borders of their own country. Diogenes also questioned the need for any form of governing body, suggesting that if everybody was equal and helping each other than no government was needed. The final part to cosmopolitanism that I have been exploring is that if you are aware of somebody in a situation worse than your own, you now have a responsibility for that individual. Thousands of years after Diogenes died; his ideal of a cosmopolitan society still lives on. However similarly to in Diogenes’s time society as a whole has yet to embrace it.
This is where facebook and the internet enter the fray. . In Ancient Greece it could take weeks or even months to get a message from one party to the next. Also things like how many people were alive, where everybody lived and their living conditions were unknown. However in 2014 the internet is so widely available that 34% of the world can use it. That 34% makes up over 2 billion people, a figure many times larger than the entire population of the planet in Diogenes time. With the use of the internet, facts and figures about poverty, war, and dictatorships are readily available at the click of a button. This, according to Diogenes and cosmopolitanism, makes everybody with access to the internet responsible for everybody else. So how can Facebook help?
Of those 2 billion plus people on the internet, over 1 billion of them are on Facebook (Tam, 2013). A social networking website launched 2004, that lets you chat, share photos and videos and interact with people from all over the world. Thus severely decreasing the amount of time and effort it takes to communicate between Brazil, Nigeria or Cambodia for example. As well as increasing communications options around the world Facebook has also served as the platform to advocate against social injustice, promote equality and raise awareness of poor living conditions around the world. To top this off, every Facebook user is equal. With the same rights to share, add photos and contact people. Thus making it a perfect means of cosmopolitan education.
A final thought to leave on: Facebook may be more like ancient Egypt than ancient Greece; in the internet, we have a modern Library of Alexandria at our fingertips, yet we choose to worship pictures of cats.
Internet world stats, 17/02/2013 “internet world stats: usage and population statistics,” viewed 26/05/2013, http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
Tam, D 2013, “Facebook by numbers: 1.06 billion monthly active users,” viewed 26/05/2013, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57566550-93/facebook-by-the-numbers-1.06-billion-monthly-active-users/