In a remote village in India 300 miles from Delhi, Sugata Mitra (a software engineer) performed an experiment. He placed a computer connected to the Internet in a hole in the wall. Two months later he came back and found them browsing and playing games.
They told him they wanted a faster processor and a better mouse.
He asked them “How on Earth did you know all this?” They said “Well we didn’t know any English so we had to teach ourselves in order to use it”
Sugata continued his experiment and discovered that a group of children left alone with a computer in any language will reach the same standard as an office secretary in the West.
It seems that “encouragement” is the key. Just saying “wow!” Saluting learning, growing and achievement.
He then hired grannies in England to continue his experiment. Gave them a computer, Skype and broadband and all they did was celebrate the learning of the children in India with words such as “Well done! Very good“.
Is social media crowd sourced encouragement?
To know, all you need now is a computer, an internet connection and a browser and you can find out almost anything. We take that knowing and create blogs, open a Facebook page, establish a Google+account and publish online. The global crowd shows up and says “Well done…. love your photos, your article or your video.
We take photos with our smart phones and we post them to Instagram and we pin images to Pinterest. It is also done with likes on Facebook, comments on blogs and Twitter retweets.
The crowd is saying “wow”
As human beings we all crave attention, encouragement and a pat on the back. Provide positive feedback and a smile and we keep showing up and having a go. The social web provides a two way channel where we publish and receive encouragement that drives us to potential greatness. We have the tools and we now have the world wide web affirmation.
This is why online expression and creativity is growing so rapidly. That is why the social networks are touching our souls and psyche.
So why is social media better than your granny?
The global crowd never sleeps. Your friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter and the readers of your blog in Germany, USA or South America fill in the time gaps that Granny can never match. They show up and say “keep going … you’re on the right track”. Grannies also need to nap. The social crowd is always there 24/7.
Grannies also don’t live forever but the online gang keeps propagating, the children grow up and take her place.
Grannies also sometimes don’t know how to Skype, use Twitter or leave that important comment. It’s a technical thing.
This blog has been built on the back of your feedback and encouragement that gets me up early and keeps me up late because you have stood on the sidelines and said the occasional “wow” and “well done”.
I have grown, I have continued to learn and I couldn’t have done it without you.
I call this the “Granny Effect”