Using social media for diplomacy

My experience on Facebook with young people around the world suggests to me that as a people and a government we ought to be using the social media to engage people around the world in a running discourse about everything under the sun. It would do more good in the world than selling arms, than dispatching troops, than undermining regimes. We engage day to day in conversation, and we should so engage the world. We should ask questions and try to answer them. Why depend on our State Department and foreign correspondence when when we can do the job better and more intimately? Why depend on 20th Century protocols in the 21st Century. The Internet was developed to defend the country, so what better defense would there be than to use to encourage understanding? To some extent this is already being done, but there is no reason that each of us can’t reach out to areas of the world that interest us. Sometimes a young person with only a rudimentary grasp of English reaches out to me just to say hello or ask a question I might easily find no time or interest in answering. But I’ve been trying to put myself in others’ shoes, hoping that my response will somehow mean something to that person, and often I think it does. I keep remembering that when I was a lonely and scared boy—my childhood was abusive—I wrote a letter to the famous war corespondent, Ernie Pyle, saying I”d like to be a correspondent. In the middle of the war he wrote back, and it gave me courage, it brightened the world for me. We can do this around the world for others. Why complain about how we’re perceived around the world, why complain about how government handles these matters, when we can do something about it?

The fuel of evolution

A society that celebrates all that it knows is ignorant. What makes life exciting is what we don’t know, what we have yet to discover. Headlines that purport to tell us all we need to know are a measure of our hubris. They reflect our ignorance. To acknowledge that we have so much to learn is the fuel of evolution and cause for jubilance.