FAS network image.jpg

Tiffany Schlain, the founder of the Webby Awards, is directing a feature length documentary, Connected: A Declaration of Interdependence, about the "visible and invisible connections between the major issues of our time — the environment, population, human rights, and the global economy." It will be released next Spring.  

It really connects with Shareable, however, in its goal to "explore how personal connections may make all the difference in affecting change" and spread an emerging worldview grounded in the reality of interdependence.

Sharing is in part a response to the impracticality of a society where individuals often go it alone to meet needs and reach goals. We're learning that a single serving economy has serious personal and collective limits. And that in order to redefine our relationship to the material world – which we arguably must do to survive – we need to redefine our relationship to each other first.  

The opportunity is to understand at a deep level that our fates are tied, and live that truth every day in personal interactions. The importance of this was recently affirmed by a blue ribbon panel of economists assembled by France's president, Nicolas Sarkozy, to come up with new measures of national well-being. The panel said you can't tell if society is doing well unless you measure intangibles including "the quality of our social connections and relationships."

I suspect that many people get interdependence intellectually but have not fully translated this understanding into new ways of relating to others. This is certainly the case for me, though I have worked at it in my community. The behavioral implications of a new world view are not obvious. And existing worldviews and behavior patterns are constantly being reinforced. New cultural artifacts like Connected, Shareable, and the Internet itself may help break this spell and lead to more useful ways of relating to one another. The Internet may have already had this impact on Gen Y. Gary Hamel's Wall Street Journal article talks about how they "expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web."

I hope we make this change as a society regardless of any extrinsic need for it. And I look forward to seeing how Connected talks about the importance of personal connections to social change.

Thumbnail image of a network courtesy of FAS.research on Flickr.

Neal Gorenflo


Neal Gorenflo | |

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder and board president of Shareable, an award-winning nonprofit news, action network, and consultancy for the sharing transformation. An epiphany in 2004 inspired Neal to

Things I share: Time with friends and family, stories, laughs, books, tools, ideas, nature, resources, passions, my network.