The Power of Audience – Diversity Day Update

Nearly one month ago, we put aside the normal timetable in our high school for a special day of programming, Diversity Day. Diversity Day is a student organized and executed day which we explore various aspects of different topics. This year’s Diversity Day theme was Pluralism in Storytelling. As faculty members, we were asked to propose a workshop session for the day.

This year, eighteen students and I talked about the power of audience. Due to the rapid changes in networked technology,it has become easier now for a story to spread world wide. Because of:

  • the power of connections in our social networks, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • the ease of being able to easily publish information
  • the ability to connect to these networks through a wide variety of options, including cell phones, computers,

anything we publish has a potentially larger audience than was ever able to in any point in history.

During the workshop, we watched the TED Talk by Evan Williams on the Growth of Twitter Being Driven by Unexpected Uses, how AP students created a Facebook group phenomenon last year, shown the role of Twitter and Blogs during the Mumbai attacks, and how Twitter users communicated about a potential death threat at a school.

Wanting to then demonstrate the power of our networks, we did a social experiment.  Using our social networks and connections, over a 24 hour period, we asked users to go to a web site and fill out a simple form asking for:

  • Who had sent them the message
  • What City, State, and Country they were in

We then asked them to pass it to members of their networks. After 24 hours, users from the following locations accessed the web page:

United States (US) – 364
Canada (CA)- 13
Australia (AU) -7
United Kingdom (GB) – 6
Hong Kong (HK) – 4
Japan (JP) – 3
Philippines (PH) – 3
China (CN) – 2
Singapore (SG) – 2
Serbia (RS) – 1
Sweden (SE) – 1
Denmark (DK) – 1
France (FR) – 1
Bermuda (BM) – 1
Thailand (TH) -1
Brazil (BR) – 1
Mexico (MX) – 1
New Zealand (NZ) – 1
Spain (ES) -1
Turkey (TR)- 1

This represents views from every continent with the exception of Africa. Amazing. From these views, individuals from the following countries actually filled out the form and participated in our experiment.

As one can see, this experiment demonstrates, in a very small way, the power of networking and communicating. We are now living in an interconnected world, where news can travel extremely quickly around the globe. The implications blow my mind.

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