Blog Action Day: Why I Think the Internet Is Key to Combating Poverty

By Daniel Scocco

Today is Blog Action Day guys. You probably heard about it right? If not here is the quick run down: a day where bloggers from around the world unite to talk about a single topic. The objective is to reach as many people as possible, and to foster action and change.

This year’s topic is poverty, and I want to explain why I think the Internet is key to combating poverty around the world and to changing many other things on our society, for the better obviously.

The Internet is basically democratizing the access to information and making the world flat. Here is what Bill Gates once said about it, and which summarizes the point well:

if you had a choice, thirty-five years ago, between being a B student in the Bronx or a genius born in Bangalore, there is no question; your life opportunities would be so much better if you were a B student in the Bronx. You could be a super-genius in Bangalore, but you really couldn’t translate that into anything. When the world is flat, it is just the opposite. You do not want to be a B student in the Bronx, because every genius in Bangalore can now plug and play more directly than ever.

With the advent of the Internet, it does not matter where you are born or under what conditions. As long as you have talent for something, you will be able to reach literally the whole world.

Sure there is still the problem that not everyone from around the world have access to the Internet. But this is an easier problem to solve, and if you take a look at the numbers, they are very promising. Today almost 1.5 billion people can already access the Internet, which is around 20% of the world population.

It is not enough, but it is growing fast. Just consider that in comparison to the year 2000, that number represents a 300% increase on the number of people that are connected to the web.

Apart from giving those direct opportunities to people, the Internet is also improving the way we communicate and share both information and knowledge. Mainstream media, large corporations and political lobbies are having a harder time deceiving people.

Consumers, workers, voters, everyone is now able to speak up and don’t put down with the bullshit we see around.

This is a game changer.

The Internet is giving people their voices back.

Blog Action Day is a perfect example of this force in action.

So if you had the luck to join this movement early, stay tuned. We are going to change the world, one bit at a time!

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34 Responses to “Blog Action Day: Why I Think the Internet Is Key to Combating Poverty”

  • Neil Duckett

    A very worthwhile cause and some great posts getting around the internet so far today.

  • Nick Masao

    Thanks for the insight,nice post.

  • shoban

    One question! Did you say you are going to write about poverty? I dont see any connection with the blog content and poverty!

  • shoban

    sorry!! I was sleeping 😉 Internet is not the same evrywhere too and its like a ocean!!! It needs very hard work to get something out of it… may it be a new idea or a service.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @shoban, you didn’t see the connection?

    Well let me put this in a ordered list so you can follow as well:

    1. politicians and corporations want people to be dumb so they can keep control of the situation, keep the status quo

    2. they keep getting richer, while the rest of the world keeps getting poorer

    3. they could do that until now thanks to mass media and to the fact that people could not speak up or find the information and knowledge to change

    4. the Internet is changing this pattern, as people are now able to talk, collaborate and to find the truth about what is going on

    5. we are only on the beginning, it will be an avalanche from here

    6. if you break the pattern and let people unite and act together, there will be less inequalities and more equal opportunities around the world

    7. following that, poverty will start to decrease

  • Daniel Scocco

    @shobar, you need hard work to get anything out of the Internet? Heck I completely disagree. Just think about Google and Wikipedia. They are making it easier than ever to find information.

  • shoban

    Hi Daniel
    Sorry about the first comment,. I didnt read it thats Y I wrote the second comment. Finding things is easier as you say!!but making something popular is lil tought!! Thats is what I meant!

  • kouji haiku

    indeed, the internet can be quite a game changer.

    for my part, i turn to sites like freerice, kiva, and goodsearch, as ways to help alleviate poverty online.

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. 🙂

  • AnotherGuy

    That is a great way of putting things. I’m glad to see the facts point to the internet actually bettering the lives of people around the world. Good job and happly BADay!

  • Gemma

    I agree with this post about the Internet’s potential for changing power. I think it underestimates the gravity of the 1/5:4/5 divide and how the Internet remains the tool of the privileged. We haven’t even bridged the gap whereby half the world lacks adequate sanitation, and that’s smaller than the digital divide.

  • Easton Ellsworth

    Thanks Daniel. We’re really grateful for your support. We are seeing a huge number of people sign up today (of course) and we hope that they all come away from today a little more generous and selfless than before.

  • Rossella

    Internet has a lot of potential for changing power because it gives people a way to express themself in total freedom. In the “online life” seems more easy to speak freely, mix thoughts and meet new point of view. All element useful for a real debate

  • Jamie Scheu

    This is absolutely true, and the anecdote from Bill Gates is a great example. Not only are people getting their voices back, through the tools to promote socially meaningful messages, but those messages are now more actionable. I would extend Daniel’s point to say that that social media tools close the loop between the message and the action (which happens to be what I wrote about for Blog Action Day).

    Great post.

  • gabriel

    i think it have got a bad name : BAD.
    Blog Action Day, despite this, all we can do to fight against poverty – beggining in our own neigbourhood, right now – is welcomed.
    At spain, some municipal governments ( in places where the services of ADSL aren´t )are trying to bring free access to wi fi conection, but they must fight against the ADSL companies that are asking them to stop with this practice because it infringes the ( their pockets? ) commercial laws. The global crisis have a message, the world must change, we must make it posible for our sons!!

  • Money Making Ideas ~ Suzanne

    Daniel ~ Great post and thank you for opening my eyes to this wonderful, awesome, amazing cause! Off I go to spend much of my time promoting this today … today, for the first time in my 43 years, I honestly believe that “I” … one person … can make a difference in the world. Thank you for that “gift.” *huGs* Suzanne

  • Angel Cuala

    I just submitted mine and I think it is the family that holds the key, and treating each other like a member of a big family will create a big difference.

    But I totally agree with your entry, Daniel.

    I will NOT debate with you as I believe that Internet is the most powerful tool mankind has been using today, and in fact the fastest way.

    With this, I can say that if all of us will only care for each other as brothers and sisters, we can use the Internet to educate mankind that poverty is a like a deadly disease that we should start to cure.

    Thanks!

  • bethP

    I think so too! I’ve blogged for Blog Action Day on one application of using the internet to combat poverty–online fundraising. Post at:

    http://www.onlinefundraisingblog.com/2008/10/online-fundraising-to-combat-poverty/

    I like the image of the “flat world” when it comes to technology and the internet. Cheers.

  • Tennyson Williams

    I completely agree. There is a great power here with the connection of the internet and there is a plethora of information out their to assist anyone with helping the world. AfriCare is a good one.

  • MLRebecca

    Fantastic post, Daniel. You know, I never really viewed the Internet that way. It’s easy to get used to the Internet as it becomes a commodity. However, it is definitely a life-changing facet of our lives. Hopefully, we are one step closer to combating poverty. Thank you for posting!

  • Voice Of Dingchao

    I quite agree with you, because this is exactly what’s happening on me. You know, when I first graduated from the university, I didn’t know clearly what I would do. The good news is I found my way on internet, now internet is totally changing my life, it drags me from poor life, and now I’m living a decent life on internet.

    I want to say, Internet is the greatest invention till now, and I love it with my holy heart!

  • Ben Moreno

    Based on the post title…

    I honestly think that any medium that allows human beings of all races, classes, etc. to connect freely without sensor or control creates the ultimate opportunity.

    It is the opportunity that was always there but was taken away or siphoned by those who desire power.

  • michaelkpoh

    Daniel,

    Great topic to discuss and blog about. I think – and as you say – more needs to be done before the internet can in any way aproximate the equalizing tool needed to bridge the Global poverty gap.

    I come from a thrid world country – Ghana, West Africa – and in my country we are making great strides towards the establishment of an internet culture. I worked for a wireless phone company before I came to this country and one interesting thing about wireless penetration and deployment was the fact that most African countries were able to leapfrog technological steps or gaps and establish wireless telephony.

    By leapfrogging technological stages is the fact that we were able to simply take wireless telephony from developed countries and implement them, in the process bypassing the developmental stages most countries in the West went through when developing wireless telephony.

    And this is the clincher and this is why the internet may present a challenge; it was easy to by pass the development stages because the engineering infrastructure structure of a typical cell phone company is built on cell sites which can bypass antiquated and or non-existent landline systems.

    In my country landline development lagged behind the situation in most countries. Wireless telephony did not and does not really require a fully developed and deployed landline system; now what is good for cell phones is not good for broadband in Africa since for the foreseeable future internet services in Africa will have to utilize landline systems. And that is where the challenge arises.

    Apart from that you have to consider the impact of local economies and poverty related issues. Several African countries have sophisticated infrastructure and equally sophisticated individuals; however the benefits from economic activity do not translate to all equally.

    Most people are occupied by survival related issues which people in this country and other developed countries take for granted. It will require great effort, investment and dedication to ensure the objectives of World Blog Day – which is to combat poverty through the internet.

    It is a worthwhile CAUSE; one which can be achieved but over a long period and at considerable cost. It will require ‘Champions’ from poverty stricken countries and from developed nations. It will require readily affordable internet related infrastructure such as laptops, desktops, broadband equipment, a good regulatory environment and the involvement of ‘Statesmen’ and not Politicians. I am sure you have heard of the one laptop per child project launched by Mr Negroponte – a grand idea which is encountering challenges as I write.

    The important thing is the fact that this subject has been broached. The next thing to do is to move forward. Nothing is ever achieved by speeches and resolutions alone, but by ACTION. Or as Otto Von Bismarck said in 1848, ‘by blood and iron’.

  • belena

    I agree with the post. We are all part of the same global village now. It is easier for more people to be informed and far more difficult for repressive governments to subjugate their people and keep them in ignorance. Hopefully this means that in future there will be less repression and persecution in the world.

  • Jeff

    Some of my friends helped start an organization I feel is closely aligned with your idea of reducing poverty by empowering people by utilizing the power of the internet and getting more people connected.

    Check out their website: http://www.InternetEquality.org

    From their website:

    Our mission is to empower the least connected people in the world by providing them with all of the tools and information necessary to participate at all levels in the Internet revolution. We believe that lack of information and lack of access to information are the greatest impediments to equal Internet access to all. That said, it is incumbent upon this organization and all of those who contribute to it to share our knowledge freely.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  • SEO Genius

    Great post Daniel and I agree there are some really good articles going around today 🙂 Its nice to see.

  • becoming minimalist

    thanks for posting and giving your time to this issue. good for you.

    i do hope your readers are moved to donate to the charity of their choice.

  • Shweta Jha

    Thanks for the lovely post. Love the idea

    On another note,I have been using a great free internet connection from http://www.gonuts4free.co.uk which works in the UK United Kingdom England. It was free of charge, fast, secure and very stable. Just by using my normal ordinary modem i managed to install it fast and easy. Great service, no fees and no extra charges. A very happy client ! They also provide superb support! Thank you.

  • SATISH

    Nice to see Gates talking about Bangalore(Actual present name: Bengaluru).
    I am leaving in a place called Davanagere, which is 200Km away from Bengaluru.

  • Social Media Marketing Blog

    nice post, thanks for insight.

  • Suz

    Hi Daniel-

    Great post and even greater points. There certainly were a lot of informative, articulate posts floating around the ‘net on 10/15 and in the days to follow.. I think that you raise some very thought-provoding points, including quoting Bill Gates. In my opinion- the easiest & most logical way to disseminate information to hundreds of thousands of people is via the internet.. it has an innate ability to send messages virally and should prove to be nothing, but an effective medium in today’s society.

    Best,
    Suz (a.k.a. Lil’ Boozie)

  • Suz

    ..And I meant “thought-provoking”.. grr.. sorry about the error!

    -Suz

  • Mita

    Poverty can be eliminated quickly and joyfully once ‘we the people’ can come together with a shared vision of fair and sustainable currency at the local regional, national and global level.

    Please search and share the blog on “Deep conscious capitalism” to change the system via open transparent monetary system. http://www.msn.com

  • choen

    is not easy , how can the people do not have poor access to the internet and internet users can not touch them.

  • spencer Black

    Just wanted to say I’m really proud of everything you’re doing.
    Here is the video I did for the young lions competition in hopes of encouraging people to add their names and help Oxfam by joining the movement to encourage world leaders to vote for change at the summit in Copenhagen in December.
    Hope you enjoy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ0nlJ9Ythc

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