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Brandy Hume - We Are All Connected. Literally - Los Angeles Z-Day, 2013 (Repository)

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Good evening, everybody. I want to talk a little bit about not only the importance of modern communication tools in today’s activism, but also how these tools can make or break us, depending on how we use them. Obviously, communication has been evolving for quite a few millennia, but we don't have nearly enough time to cover all of that; so we’re going to focus on the more recent developments. Although political debates had already been taking place for many years, the first televised US Presidential debate wasn’t until 1960, between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. Prior to that, listeners could only tune in on the radio. Interestingly, just the technical method by which this debate was communicated to the audience had a huge impact on how it was perceived. As illustrated by The Museum of Broadcast Communications, "... those who heard the first debate on the radio pronounced Nixon the winner, but the 70 million who watched it on television saw a candidate still sickly and obviously discomforted by Kennedy's smooth delivery and charisma. Those television viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard. Studies of the audience indicated that, among television viewers, Kennedy was perceived the winner of the first debate by a very large margin." The effects of watching the event on television changed the game so dramatically that candidates wouldn’t agree to another televised debate until sixteen years later, in 1976; the pressure was just too much. Now, more than thirty years later, a newer method of communication, the Internet, is changing the way we perceive news, social events, and in a lot of ways, the entire world around us, more than ever; and a new breed of social awareness is emerging through online activism. We’ve seen this in recent times with movements like Occupy Wall Street which sparked in New York and took less than a month to spread to at least 80 countries, spanning from Asia to Europe, and every state in the US. According to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 38% of users on social networking sites use it to "Like" or promote material related to politics or social issues. If you guys aren't like in a coma from the last milliad, you can raise your hand if you're part of that 38%. [Laughter] 28% of social media users post stories and links for others to read, and 21% said they belong to a group on social networks that are involved in political or social issues. 31% use social networking to, quote: "take action on a political or social issue that is important to them." What does that mean for The Zeitgeist Movement? First, let’s take a quick look at two of the world’s most popular websites, starting with Facebook (... big surprise there). By the end of 2004 it had 1,000,000 users, and by September of 2012 it had over a billion users. That's about a 100,000% increase in about eight years. Over one billion people use the site each month, and 584 million active users are on there every day. 604 million are using Facebook from a mobile device every month. The Zeitgeist Movement Global Facebook page has over 90,000 "Likes," but through those 90,000 fans, we actually have the potential to reach 31,728,904 of their friends, just by posting and sharing content. By the way, that was only a couple weeks ago. I actually went back and looked at the insights more recently, and the potential reach went up by about half a million people just from 700 more "Likes." So that's how that grows. As some of you may know, the TZM Official Channel on YouTube has a total of more than 29 million video views, combined across about 200 or so videos. But get this: 20 million of those 29 million views, are of "Zeitgeist Moving Forward." So the third, and most comprehensive, documentary of the series, accounts for almost 70% of the traffic to our channel. So it’s in a pretty good spot, considering YouTube is the third most popular website in the world. More video content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60-day period, than the three major US television networks created in 60 years. [Guffaws] And over 800 million unique visitors are there every month. It's got over four billion hours of video watched every month, and 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. 70% of that traffic actually comes from outside the US, and people watch one billion views a day on YouTube mobile. Unfortunately, about 80 bazillion percent of the traffic is for Gangnam Style. But to be fair, a large percentage of those are actually probably mine. [Laughter, applause] But, nevertheless the song is in Korean, and yet no one in any other part of ... the world actually, seems to care that they can’t understand the lyrics. So I guess that does at least somewhat demonstrate my point, that the Internet, and perhaps music, in this case, really does make the world a smaller place; no more competent necessarily, but smaller. [Laughter] That is, if you consider 225 million miles of fiber optic cable 'small.' So why am I boring you with all of these statistics? Well, just 50 years ago, activists relied on rallying together locally. Today with the click of a button, we can be in a TeamSpeak meeting with activists from all around the world. We have an online newsletter with contributions from various international chapters, in different languages, and we can hop onto Skype for a one-on-one orientation, with screen sharing. Our Technology Team keeps us up-to-date with news and information in applied sciences, life sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences, through, where content is posted and shared with thousands every day. And the TZM Global Radio show helps members stay tuned in to current events and topics of interest in the Movement, while also making an ongoing effort to engage new listeners. None of this is to detract from the importance of local chapter projects, and street activism that exists and takes place in a physical realm; as those are where bonds truly form, and how changes really happen in the real world. The Internet is just a tool that facilitates, and in most cases significantly expedites, the necessary communication and exchanges of information that make us, as humans, so eager to transform an idea from paper into reality. So in short, a lot of times we may be introduced to an idea online, or we may find out about it in person, and then learn more about it online; but for the most part, it’s when we take what we’ve learned, and apply it to our every day lives and conversations, that change truly starts to become organic, when we put our ideas into action. But, what happens when those actions become misguided? In August of 2011, after several days of looting in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that the government should have the ability to turn off social media during riots. A Wall Street Journal article on the subject reads "Thousands of online posts had planned mayhem more quickly than the police could respond. A member of Parliament pointed out that the police can close roads in emergencies, arguing: 'We'd all survive if Twitter shut down for a short while during major riots.' " It goes on to explain: "Robert Andrews, a reporter for the paidContent UK website, asked Twitter users whether they would prefer to keep the service available, so they could chat about the television music competition "The X Factor," or let the service be closed temporarily, so that "fellow citizens like shopkeepers need not be assaulted, have their property and premises pilfered and trashed, and so that they need not live in fear." Though it was an admittedly unscientific survey, Mr. Andrews nevertheless reports that every Twitter respondent opted for "The X Factor." He concludes "So addicted are we to our electronic connections, we simply cannot bear to be parted, for even an hour or two, in the name of public safety while London burns." Hopefully you’ve figured out by now that The Zeitgeist Movement does not condone violence, and if we could all rest assured that the sole reason behind certain officials shutting down social media would actually be for the aims of public safety, then maybe these Twitter users would’ve given the idea a little more merit. But it could be argued that their votes were, in all actuality, simply against shutting down Twitter or any form of online communication for any reason, rather than their votes just being superficially in favor of a TV show at the expense of public safety. After all, as is already quoted all too often “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." [Benjamin Franklin] [Applause] In other words, if potential threats, deemed so, of course, by a controlling party, become reason enough to shut down one of our widest reaching forms of communication, then it’s only a matter of time before such 'threats' or rather 'threats of threats,' are manifested in order to justify social media blackouts. As it stands, these calls are, and should be, primarily left up to the administrators of each individual website. In fact, as the article goes on to say, "The big social media sites are able to draw reasonably clear lines between fighting crime, and protecting free speech. Hundreds of Facebook staffers monitor posts around the world to enforce its ban against using the service to plan violence. It closed down a ‘Third Palestinian Intifada’ page. Twitter bans ‘direct, specific threats of violence.’ ” It’s up to us to use our communication tools responsibly. When we all come together armed with ideas, rather than anger and violence, we can show the world that not everyone who wants change necessarily wants to start lighting fires, or spray-painting their demands on someone else's property. One of a number of ways the Movement gathers non-violently to spread awareness is through the Zeitgeist Media Festival, an annual event that brings the artistic and activist communities together in the hope to inspire change, and of course, Zeitgeist Day, an annual event where the 'coolest' people in the world get together and discuss the need to move into a sustainable socioeconomic system. [Applause, cheers] While the Internet can obviously be a very powerful tool for communication purposes, it’s no secret that it does have its drawbacks. For one, it could be argued that the human element is a bit removed, by not necessarily being able to converse with people face-to-face. We see this on a regular basis, any time we witness a common exchange between people saying things to each other that they would never say to someone in person. I'm not going to mention any names. But even that aside, with so much information out there on the web, accessible to anyone with a computer, it can become a crutch just to kind of lazily point people to links and materials, and lose that drive to actually engage in meaningful conversations, and to be willing to learn something from one another, to understand each other. A common example of this sort of apathy is when people who have questions or objections to the Resource-Based Economy are automatically told to "Do more research!" Unfortunately, that response doesn't really work; and, in fact, I've sometimes found it to be counterproductive. It's often a valid criticism and perfectly good advice, but in order for it to have any meaning or any effect, it has to come with an explanation. Granted, the person in question is presumably 'lazy' for not doing his or her own research, but we might as well lead by example. If you know how to counter arguments made against a Resource-Based Economy, then you can do so on your own. You start by explaining it in your own words as best as you can and list the sources yourself, such as links, articles, videos, etc. That's really the best you can do, and if they don't acknowledge your answers, then that's on them, but at least they can't accuse you of being dogmatic and avoiding their questions. When we come across people who may blatantly misconstrue the fundamentals of a Resource-Based Economy, they’ve either: A) done the research and still don't get it, or B) haven't, and probably aren’t going to do the research, at least not without you holding their hand. So the canned response of telling people to "Do more research," just sounds to them like a cop-out answer to cover up the fact that you can’t necessarily back up what you’re saying. Worse, they may even get the sense that we think we're so enlightened that we cannot be bothered with such silly questions or objections; and this, of course, can actually hurt the overall cause. So I say, call their bluff, and answer the question or objection, right then and there. Don't become too overly dependent on other people or other writings to do it. Of course, this comes with a big responsibility on our part and that is: understanding the material. Not just Zeitgeist materials, you know the films, the lectures; those are all great, but it helps if we can really dive into these subjects and get a good grip on what it is that we're advocating; and why, from a scientific, social, historical and economic perspective, to really be able to offer your own responses that are more tailored to what that particular person might be asking or talking about. Of course, we have to use our own judgment and know where to draw the line between answering legitimate questions, and responding to endless trolling. But the point is, that we're getting into dangerous territory, if we actually do hear a question or concern that we genuinely can't answer, and then we just argue anyway because we believe so strongly in the kind of society we advocate. If you don't know the answer to a question, go find it. We don't need to rely strictly on TZM materials, there are plenty of sources out there. This kind of knowledge and participation would ultimately require, and thereby naturally develop, a more thorough understanding of the material within the Movement itself, as opposed to just regurgitatement of statements, facts and information that, at the end of the day, lacks any real context to the listener. It is critical that if we are going to suggest to people that they do more research, we take it upon ourselves to back it up. For example, you might say "I disagree that humans are naturally greedy, or that they naturally prefer competition. So-and-so studies show that we are naturally wired for empathy and cooperation, but this has been stifled due to scarcity. Look at these sources and tell me what you think. Also, can you point me to some studies that show humans are naturally selfish?" Instead of saying "Clearly, you need to do more research." Or you might say "Actually, I think you've misunderstood the Resource-Based Economic Model. It's not the same as using barter, because trade and private property are naturally obsolete in a state of abundance. I think you will find such-and-such segment of Doug’s, or Peter’s- or whoever’s lecture- explains this pretty well, at: (however many minutes in). Here are some other sources that explain it in more detail. What do you think of what this says about a systems approach in the last paragraph?" Instead of saying "If you think a RBE is the same as a monetary system, you obviously haven't done any research." Really taking the extra time to learn the materials and then sharing it with others in this way can be a very powerful approach, for at least two reasons: 1) It genuinely answers the question or concern, if the person is genuinely asking, and it can open a new line of discussion. 2) If they're not genuinely asking and just being argumentative, you will immediately be able to tell when they respond with something like, "Human desires will always be unlimited!" or "It doesn't matter how you organize the system because central or planned economies always fail," without actually addressing a single one of your statements or sources, in which case you don't really need to waste your time. So, with the right approach, it's a win-win situation; you either: A) answer the question satisfactorily and continue the discussion, or B) patiently and intelligently determine that the person does not actually want to hear the answer. In contrast, when you simply lead with "Do more research," you skip both A and B and end up with C: not answering the question, which gives them an easy out, that you probably 'don't know what you're talking about.' In short, I think the more knowledge you have, the more patience you have. It's frustrating not to be able to answer questions and objections, especially when you know there's an answer, but maybe you can't formulate it well. Maybe you know you heard Peter say it somewhere, but you don't know where, and you can't remember exactly what he said. That doesn't really work. You have to learn it yourself. Otherwise it becomes a dangerous crutch to just say "do research," and it gets very easy to get angry and impatient with people. On the other hand, it can be liberating to be able to effectively address objections, and at the very least, it reinforces your own understanding, even if no one's really listening. [Laughter] It helps to respond to people with open-ended answers; that is, an explanation, followed by a question which encourages him or her to either elaborate on, or at least question, the legitimacy of their position. Even when pointing someone to a source, you might still try to point to a specific statement or segment, and ask that person what he or she thinks of it. Try not to assume that the source is the answer, and that's the end of it. Ultimately, what it boils down to is that we can get so used to hearing the same old objections, that we might accidentally be too quick to tell someone to just "Do research" or "Read the FAQ." Just try to be mindful of this, and make sure that that's actually what needs to happen. On top of that, don't be afraid to offer your help. Whether communicating with others online, or in person, if we expect to see any kind of realistic change in society, we owe it to ourselves to become subject matter experts in the methodology that will bring this change about. This way, the next time someone asks if you're a member of The Zeitgeist Movement, you can confidently say, "No. I am The Zeitgeist Movement." Thank you. [Applause] The Zeitgeist Movement

Video Details

Duration: 17 minutes and 37 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: The Zeitgeist Movement
Director: The Zeitgeist Movement
Views: 45
Posted by: ltiofficial on May 30, 2015

This is the tenth talk of eleven, from The Zeitgeist Movement's flagship, 5th Annual "Zeitgeist Day", 2013 Main Event, held in Los Angeles CA on March 17th.

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