By Rebecca Rooy
Concerning the future of solidifying a global community, I had always envisioned a face-to-face, border-free sort of collaboration. However, dependable global communication is more immediate and accessible than what I thought. Although I have encountered the social network applications such as Facebook and MySpace, I had yet to discover one that embraced a global social network. Enter: TakingItGlobal.org (TIG). The purpose and mission of TakingItGlobal defines its version of forming a global community. “TakingITGlobal.org is an online community that connects youth to find inspiration, access information, get involved, and take action in their local and global communities. It’s the world’s most popular online community for young people interested in making a difference, with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month. TakingItGlobal’s highly interactive website provides a platform for expression, connection to opportunities, and support for action. Join now and connect with thousands of other young people around the world!”
In order to fully explore this emerging social connection (which began in the year 2000), I created my own profile. First of all, although the site explicitly states it was generated to connect youth, I did not stumble across any age limitations. I suspect the “youth outreach” mission is morphing, since the creators and webmasters began it in their youth and are now growing together. Also, although the other social networks of Facebook and MySpace exist solely to meet people based on common interests and to stay in touch with past friends, TakingITGlobal emphasizes both community and global outreach by sparking connections among people individually or organizationally active and interested in social, global, and political justice and development.
In setting up a profile, the questions contain the standard “about me” section and job description. However, since this is specifically a global network, one may identify nationalities, countries of citizenship, country of birth, languages spoken, nations visited in one’s lifetime (wherein tiny pictures of each visited nation’s flag virtually materialize to dress up your profile page), and finally, to identify issues that are important or of expertise to a member. There are various categories such as Arts and Media; Culture and Identity; Environment and Urbanization; Health and Wellness; Human Rights and Equity; Learning and Education; Peace, Conflict, and Governance; Technology and Innovation; Work and Economics. Within each of these categories there are about 70 sub-categories, which further specify these interests. Such sub-categories include: International Aid and Debt Relief; Sustainable Development; Peace Building; Political Thought; Internet Governance, Digital Divide; Advertising and Marketing Culture; Citizenship and Belonging; Consumerism and Pollution; Climate Change; Traditional and Conventional Medicine.
The page announces the total members of TakingItGlobal (as of June 21st, it was teetering around 150,074), has an online gallery of artwork submitted by members, features different discussion boards based on global or local issues, encourages different “Groups” to be formed (the largest group appears to be one called “A Well Earth”), and provides “Country Pages” (which compiles quick descriptions of every nation, the number of members hailing from that nation, the number of members that have visited that nation, quick country statistics, national awareness events, financial (or scholarship) opportunities, and professional opportunities).
In order for any representation, either on an individual or company basis, to be successful in today’s world, and to truly make a global impact, these types of social networks and interaction are now necessary. We are moving, in an accelerated fashion, into a digitalized world, where technology is the dominant tool in globalization, innovation, collaboration, and communication.