Getting lucky is often about getting out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to new and different opportunities. You can get lucky by listening to different people’s points of view and then looking at the situation from their perspective. You can also get lucky by putting yourself in situations and locations that are different from your norm. The internet, along with interactive maps, news from around the world and social networks that can connect you to people in countries across the globe has given us the tools to really jump out of our comfort zones but according to Ethan Zuckerman in the TED Talk below, we’re really missing out on this opportunity as a nation.
The talk is a little long but worth watching when you have the time.
According to Ethan’s talk, in the 1970’s, 35% of the news American’s consumed was international compared to only 12% in the 2000’s. He showed a picture created by Alisa Miller that portrays the world according to the news that we consumed from each country in July of 2009. I was able to get a similar version from February 2007 below. Alisa claims that today, we want to know more about the world than ever before and yet, the media is showing us less and less. In other words, the media is luck blocking us and trying to dumb us down.
The picture sort of reminds me of the old “World According to America Poster”.
With all the tools available online to reach people from around the world, people choose to spend the time with their local friends and other people they meet that share their interests. Even when people use social networks to discuss world news, they mostly discuss it with their friends and people with the same or similar perspective. You don’t see people friending strangers from other countries to hear their perspectives on what happens to be their “local” news. This leads to us discussing our own thoughts and what our media wants us to know. This can be very dangerous as we end up thinking that we are worldly and up to date but really we have no clue about what is really going on in the world around us.
Zuckerman feels that it is unfortunate that more people in North America don’t speak Chinese. After all, it is one of the leading and most important languages in the world. He points out a Chinese organization that devotes their time to translating news and information into Chinese and feels that America should do the same. Ethan is a co-founder of Global Voices, which aims to share news and opinions from locals in nations across the world in many languages.
Lucky people are the ones that take the road less traveled and in a world that we have the tools to reach the corners of the world, we should push through the media’s wall and pave a lucky path. Not many people are doing it so here is your lucky break!