Reaching the World
It’s pretty obvious that the readers and writers I like are all over the planet. I don’t take that for granted.
Look at the writer names on this platform. They reveal a global slice of writers and readers that is unique. For me this is as liberating as technology enabling me to seamlessly do freelance work across borders and oceans. That tech was the breakthrough combination of digital communication and international payment processing without exorbitant fees. It is hard to remember that only a few years ago much of this was not available or very unreliable.
But the global diversity of thought here, generally positive, is amazing on the same level. Every day I can read ideas from a cross section of humanity unrestricted by gender, location, age, economic status…it’s quite remarkable.
There is a human tendency to surround ourselves with those who share our view of the world, our opinions, biases, age, and other markers for being ‘one of us’. It can be difficult to break away from those boundaries. For example, I live in a city that is evenly divided between people of color and caucasians like me.
But these two groups seldom interact on any meaningful social or business level. Though we live in a liberal northeast city, there is discrimination and distrust which is seldom recognized but can be found everywhere. Most of this separation is economic and educational. It is ingrained.
When a black man was killed by police on video here in Rochester, after George Floyd, the city erupted into a night of protests that, driven by anarchists who later fled, devolved into a riot and looting. But even the looting had boundaries, staying mainly in poorer neighborhoods. Fortunately we did not repeat that night, though we had contentious encounters with massive police overreactions to subsequent peaceful protests.
But there was something new to the Black Lives Matter protests here and across the country. They were biracial. They crossed agelines and economic lines. And they gave many of us hope that more alliances could be formed to address the huge diversity issues at stake here.
I have run into very little negativity here
In contrast to my example above, the comments and feedback I get for my stories are generally positive. I did get a predictable negative reaction to a piece I did about the irresponsibility of prematurely opening up states 100%. But it was only one response.
I generally avoid politically charged writing. I think there is intense fatigue around it after the worldwide pandemic and the divisive insanity of the election year. One of the hallmarks of Medium is its generally positive tone. This is remarkable considering that, with some extreme exceptions, it is not curated. I’m not referring to distribution curation but to a selection criteria. We can write and read about whatever we want.
Comments can and should be conversations
I am guilty of seldom responding to comments on my work, except where there is a direct question. I plan to change this and respond as often as possible. There is an opportunity to have a dialog about almost anything with anyone who wants to join in, from anywhere, and with any background.
Though I’ve written speculatively about this as a social media platform, I think it is something different. Social media platforms generally restrict most of us to those we know, if there is one on one conversation. Here, the conversation is global.
Writing for a global but personal audience is different
I’ve had to take this into account in what I write about and how I write it. There are issues that are unique to my societal position that might not resonate with that of others. I do not want to create a group of followers with a definable description. Some people try to stay within categories like generational groups, religion, or profession. That is fine but I’m a writer and that is a very loosely defined interest.
The reality is that with my world, and that of many others, we have little opportunity to interact with those whose lives are very different. Over several years of writing here those interactions are really the best thing about building a story here as a writer. Those who regularly read my stuff get a view into my world, a view I try to keep positive without glossing over the degree of privilege that can exist here.
When you see the world from a different perspective it expands
It is legitimate to wonder if we are creating a homogeneous global culture with all this cross border communication. I suspect this is inevitable but we are still an incredibly diverse global culture and many are finding ways to embrace parts of theirs that are in danger of being diminished. Others celebrate the discovery of new kinds of food, art, entertainment, and more, and all of these things can be found here.
My freelance work specializes in the subject of translation and localization, a rapidly growing field as the economy becomes more global and buyers expect to communicate in their native language, rather than English. There are thousands of languages and their variants on this planet. That diversity should be celebrated and embraced.
I don’t speak a second language, to my regret, but with my writing and interactions here, I can be a part of a global conversation. This is a gift I never could have imagined having when I was younger. It is a remarkable thing.