Phoenicians converged at monOrchid Monday to join more than 30,000 global citizens in streaming Mashable’s Social Good Summit, carrying the international conversation to downtown Phoenix.
The summit, a three-day conference sponsored by social media news website Mashable, was live-streamed in 400 cities across the world and featured more than 100 speakers. It focused on issues related to technology and innovation.
The conference was held primarily in New York, with satellite events in Beijing; Mogadishu, Somalia, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Phoenix’s gathering, sponsored by CO+HOOTS, a collaborative office space for entrepreneurs and small business owners, saw about 15 people stream through between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
People around the world connected with each other through Twitter and other social media platforms to discuss the presentations. Topics ranged from using video games as an advocate for social change to uniting the parallels of physical and technological communities.
“Technology connects us globally, but not intimately,” said Kelsey Wong, director of operations at CO+HOOTS.
This prompted a discussion about the pros and cons of technology’s presence, both in the downtown Phoenix community and on a national and global scale. The general consensus was that compromise is needed.
“Technology can be extremely beneficial as a tool, but it should never completely replace other, older methodologies that are still functional,” Wong said.
Keith Mulvin, director of sustainability for Hearts, an organization promoting environmentally-conscious decisions in fashion, discussed social silos, niche communities that are typically extremely active in a self-contained way.
“In Phoenix, we have a lot of instances of silos,” Mulvin said. “While technology benefits communication within those individual groups, it distances them from each other in the grand scheme of things.”
One example is the popularity of social media, a situation cited by several of the participants in the CO+HOOTS discussion. While Facebook provides immediate connections, particularly across large geographical distances, it can also weaken existing relationships and decrease the face-to-face interactions that would have otherwise occurred.
“With Phoenix being so spread out, how do we find something to bring people together?” Mulvin asked the group.
Brian Kemp-Schlemmer, a pastor at City Square Church, mentioned several key points, including breaking down barriers to make people feel more comfortable in communities they don’t necessarily consider themselves a member of.
“If we start with promoting conversation within individual organizations, we can expand to other communities and make connections that will continue to serve us,” Kemp-Schlemmer said.
Some attendees stressed that although technology can bring people together from other communities, person-to-person communication is still necessary to build those communities.
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