As Meryl Streep’s 2017 Golden Globe Award speech took up residence in all our hearts within seconds and rekindled our emotions from the heinous act, the power of a humble speech shone through. The strength of Winston Churchill’s voice in the plethora of his speeches gave hope to an entire nation and is still being used as the benchmark for a moving speech. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s ‘I Have a Dream’ has become essential in the study of history. Speeches have managed to make the bleakest of situations brighter. Even with such varying topics – they all called for a change. So in this blog, I want to talk about what a powerful platform with a powerful speech can do.
A Global Platform and a Local Idea
Think Globally and Act Locally, a phrase that is still being taught in schools and yet people forget that to think globally, you need exposure to global thinking. The internet has had a hand in giving us the aforementioned global exposure. Along with that, it has also given us a global platform to express ourselves where we can talk about Meryl Streep’s speech in 2020. So now the problem arises, we do have the platform to think globally, but, we’re sticking to acting locally. We have an idea and a platform and yet we aim to do things locally. This has had generations of students stuck in a loop of – I can become and do whatever I want to do and become, but, the only people that will care about it – is my family and people who live immediately next door.
It is time that we recognize that we have access to resources like never before. The internet need not be viewed as a platform to waste time on video games and chatting with friends. The virality of Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN assembly is precedent to the fact that it takes one powerful message and the power of a global platform to get 7 Billion people to talk. Let’s take youtube as an example. Any video uploaded has about the first 60 minutes to get a boost from the viewers via likes, shares, and comments. This tells the algorithm if the content is worth being pushed across to people’s pages or not. The first 60 minutes can decide the virality of a video. Now compare it to a large platform. I would call something a large platform if it has a good number of viewers at any given time. So, any large platform can essentially follow the 60-minute rule.
It isn’t too far fetched an idea to employ our youth to spread positive messages across the globe because they have the resources. Acting locally can be significantly enhanced if the globe pushes for it.
Is a platform good or bad?
Recently China sent out a thank you speech to India for helping it fight the coronavirus. Now, the note was just so-so in the expressive department but it had the power to boost the morale of an entire nation because of its importance. It made Indians feel seen in front of the world. This speech was given on a global platform recognizing Indian doctors and people and was accepted with immense honor.
On the ghastly side of what some speeches can do is the grey-listing of Pakistan in FATF (financial action task force) regarding the entire terrorist group financing issues. There is Hitler, one of the most feared and hated leaders in humanity’s history but his speeches were so powerful that they could lead a revolution with such power.
History has many examples of platforms being used to spread both positive and negative messages. So where does that leave the nature of a platform? The answer is not really good, bad or neutral. The reason is that everyone who does use the platform for creating a negative impact truly believes in their message. So a platform is used for spreading a message that is believed to be good and in my opinion, arguing if a platform is good or bad is moot. The message itself needs to be assessed for its nature. Although platforms like WhatsApp are creating features like forwarding tags on messages to curb the spread of misinformation, it comes down to a resilient moral education system that can teach more than the thirsty crow stories.
Funnily enough, education systems in themselves can act as platforms. Take the changing of history books as an example. There have been multiple cases of governments intervening to change the history of its own nation to change the conversation. Here is an example.
Platform as a Privilege
I have talked about examples of platforms and how they have been used. An underlying common factor between all this is that these platforms are a privilege. Now everyone owns a smartphone to browse through Instagram or even a good internet connection. Many don’t have access to education or radio. So as we talk about using a global platform to spread positive messages and empowering the youth to use the platforms in the palm of their hands, let’s also keep in mind that this is a privilege and we should all be working towards making these platforms accessible.
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