These days, thousands of crowdsourcing success stories are out there. People are using such platforms as GoFundMe and change.org to raise funds and recognition for all kinds of worthy causes. The tendency for people to band together and allow the power of numbers to lead to positive outcomes that could never be achieved by any individual alone goes way back into our evolutionary history (see Bingham & Souza, 2009).
Internet-based crowdsourcing technologies have been used to support people in connection with issues such as health, the environment, the arts, and more. To this point, millions of people have benefited from this kind of technology in all kinds of positive ways. And so many of these people are making a difference as a result.
Crowdsourcing allows for the support of prosocial, forward-thinking initiatives in ways that are altogether unprecedented.
As is true with so many aspects of our world, internet-based technologies represent a mixed blessing when it comes to the human experience. As is true with so many evolutionarily unnatural technologies, internet-based technologies have demonstrated an array of adverse outcomes (see Geher, 2020).
This said the effects of internet-based technologies on the modern world are not all rotten. In many ways, they are giving us new tools to enhance the positive features of the human experience. Perhaps most conspicuously, through technologies such as Zoom, we are able to communicate with people immediately and meaningfully, regardless of geographical location—a fact that has had enormous benefits across the world during the current COVID pandemic.
Additional benefits include the fact that we are capable of achieving social validation in more immediate ways than ever. We also are capable of showing others support and encouragement publicly, loudly, and with vitality. And we are capable of using these technologies to, in unprecedented ways, raise awareness for all kinds of issues that benefit from our collective attention.
As we move into this brave new world, infused by social media technology, I say that we take steps to quash cyberbullying. And we work to enhance cybersmiling.
*Thanks especially to Elizabeth Diuguid and the Wellness Committee (chaired by Christina Cordier in connection with Dean of Students, Robin Cohen-La Valle) for facilitating this initiative.
References 1. Bingham, P. M., & Souza, J. (2009). Death from a distance and the birth of a humane universe. Lexington, KY: BookSurge Publishing. 2. Geher, G. (2020). An evolutionary perspective on the real problem with increased screen time. This View of Life. 3. Geher, G. & Wedberg, N. (2020). Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin’s Guide to Living a Richer Life. New York: Oxford University Press. 4. Shrand, J. (2015). Do you really get me? New York: Hazeldon.
Written by: Glenn Geher, Ph.D
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission