EDITORIAL: Tech advances get us talking

New tech platforms are changing the way people interact with the world around them

News earlier this week that Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May would use Twitter to participate, in real time, in yesterday’s federal leaders debate on the economy – an event she wasn’t invited to – got us thinking about how technology has drastically changed the way people communicate.

Using various forms of social media for political reasons is only one way people have used these and other tools to reach the masses.

We’ve seen charitable organizations undertake fundraising campaigns to tap into the multitudes of people online at any given time.

In a similar vein, individuals raising money for all manner of ventures, both business and personal, have achieved success through crowdfunding. Both of those examples illustrate a broadening of the conversation around whatever cause for which the funds are being raised.

From a news perspective, social media has given us a larger window on the world, as people post alternative-sourced stories rather than solely relying on our traditional outlets.

On a more personal level, students overseas are easily able to take university level courses, thus participating in a global learning environment. We were struck this week at how China-based alumni from Royal Roads University, many of whom had never been to the Colwood campus, enjoyed face-to-face discussions with local grads during the school’s Global Alumni Weekend. This after engaging in mostly online learning scenarios with fellow team members in Greater Victoria and elsewhere on the continent (see story in today’s Gazette).

Drilling down further, people have been using such software as Facetime on iPhones, or Skype through their computers or phones – military families are frequent users – to bridge the miles.

May’s example is the latest to show how technology has allowed us all to “crash the party” without even being there.