A few days ago, while flying back to LA from New Delhi, I sat in the airport lounge at the Dubai airport. On the television in front of us, footage of protesters being shoved by authorities in Libya played. Just eight days before, while flying from LA to Delhi, the same television showed celebration in Tahrir Square as it was announced that Mubarak had stepped down as Prime Minister.
Curious about what voices in the region were saying, I picked up numerous papers and magazines to read local editorials and reports. Several words popped up over and over again–social media, Twitter and Facebook. In an editorial in Arabian Business, editor Damian Reilly pointed out, “as Hosni Mubarak found out…no address on state television is a match for the power of Facebook and Twitter.”
Social media is proving to be a most powerful tool for social transformation. At the Sages & Scientists conference hosted by my father (Deepak Chopra) this past weekend, eminent scientists and researchers echoed that the tools for change are in the hands of the people. At one point, Ian Somerhalder, actor from Lost and The Vampire Diaries, asked Allan Savory, President of the Savory Institute, how one shares the great insights of today’s scientists with the world. (Savory explains how holistic management has the power to reverse desertification of the earth’s grasslands–a practical solution to one of Mother Earth’s dire problems.)
Savory replied that it is social media that will help save Mother Earth.
Research has shown that social networks influence people’s happiness. If you have a happy friend you are 15% more likely to be happy. But if your friend has a happy friend, you are 10% more likely to be happy, and if your friend’s friend is happy you still 6% more likely to be happy!
On my own social media site, www.intent.com, an online community for supporting people’s intentions, people state their intents, other people support them, and community is created through shared aspirations. We just crossed 1 million supports for people’s personal aspirations to lead healthier, happier and socially engaged lives. I can testify that when someone supports my intent, I feel good and am more likely to make sure I achieve it.
We have today very powerful tools to heal ourselves, our society, and Mother Earth. One tweet that reaches 500K followers creates a wave of information through re-tweets. When the message hits the core intents of a society–as we have seen in the Middle East–it is nearly impossible to turn back the tidal wave for change.
Its hard for me to envision what the world will be like even 5 years from now when my young daughters are seeking to express themselves to their friends, communities, and the world. But, I can only be excited and hopeful that we are seeing a new dawn where the hope for peace, healing, and justice are truly at our fingertips.