Facebook posts and tweets did not shed tears in our social fabric.
Zoom meetings will be similarly short. To enrich some of the divisions that have taken place during decades of disintegration, no form of modern technology needs to replace the space that has been greatly reduced and many have been destroyed.
What is required is a voluntary, but expected, national service program that allows people to walk a mile in another American shoe. This program – called the American Service Corps – will send eighteen-year-old children to another corner of the country for a year to live in a new community, complete service projects and interact with people of different backgrounds and beliefs. This pie-in-the-sky idea is essential in these sky-fall days. And big technology can help make it happen.
Tears in our social fabric will only be modified by real, personal connections. Tech can help facilitate those connections, but it cannot be a further solution in itself. Something is lost in transition when we communicate on social media or even zoom. The inch that separates you from your computer camera introduces a set of factors that reduce the quality of your connection with people on the other side.
Deflections are: notifications from your browser, interruptions, gaps in communication that make you talk to each other and create distance – you’re not really with that person so long as there’s a screen between you. Social media is not better at connecting people. To the extent that we all have friends and communities online, it’s no secret that those relationships are genuine about Trump’s tan.
The American Service Corps was not created through the federal government. The best bet in a federal solution is a long shot. Sen. Chris Kons (D-Day) has proposed an increase in service opportunities for young Americans by increasing already existing programs such as the Americas Corps, Peace Corps and City Year. If Con’s idea comes to fruition, 300,000 young Americans will be “able” to serve their community. Therefore, even in the best case, the federal solution would amount to a single stitch in a tear requiring far more mailing.
Our tech giants can jointly pull the largest axis of Silicon Valley history to start the US service corps. What’s more, by doing so, they will connect with their missions. Google wants to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful – the most important information right now is learning how to serve diverse Americans as well as others. Facebook strives to move fast and break things – it is time to move fast and break our geographical, ideological and economic bubbles. Airbnb imagines a world in which you can feel like you are at home anywhere – many Americans do not feel at home in their country.
These three tech giants alone can create a platform unlike any other: a place for young Americans to live (AirBnB), an organization to serve (Google) and a community to engage in (Facebook) to help Means of Of course, other tech companies should feel more than welcome to assist in the development of the American service corps.
This elevated idea may seem impractical, but it is within their reach. At the core of ASC is decentralization and distributed trust that allows technology to flourish in the modern era. For ASC to succeed, millions of Americans must open their homes or support those who are ready to serve as hosts, hundreds of thousands of organizations must identify meaningful service opportunities and thousands of philanthropic organizations It will be necessary to raise the necessary funds to feed, support and educate young Americans.
ASC also has a distributed and decentralized approach that distinguishes this notion of service from the options currently available to young Americans. While the largest domestic service programs – such as Americorps and YouthBield – serve as intermediaries between those volunteers and organizations in need of assistance, the ASC will streamline that connection. By building a direct relationship between volunteers and organizations, ASC will improve the current system in two meaningful ways: (1) By cutting out the middleman, there will be a larger array of organizations, including more private, for-profit entities. Able to request assistance rather than undergo some bureaucratic process to become eligible for volunteers; (2) Increasing the number of organizations and service opportunities will attract more young Americans to seriously consider spending a year committed to service.
Young Americans should not limit their service opportunities to teaching (Teach for America), construction of homes (a common task for AmeriCorps volunteers) or community construction projects (a frequent youthbuild activity). These opportunities are important, influential and educational but They are also limiting and fail to tap into the full potential of young Americans to serve their communities. For example, more than a few organizations may use social media interns – the ASC would welcome such service postings. The platform approach to the service taken by ASC will make such creative and informal posting more general.
Furthermore, young Americans should not make sacrifices to serve. Consider a place as expensive as an AmeriCorps member that California may receive just $ 15,000 for a year of service. Senator Coons is rightfully proposing that rate increase – up to $ 22,000, but even that amount would make a service year non-quarterly for millions of young Americans facing financial difficulties. ASC, being more flexible and responsible for private investment, can crowdsource more financial support for young Americans making the move to serve others.
Even with personal support, this program will not be cheap. Eventually, extensive transportation, coordination, and operating costs are involved to send millions of young Americans to a new part of the country. That is why Tech’s leading role in introducing ASC should be seen as a short-term solution. Eventually, the federal government will come to its senses and when it does, it can play a role in maintaining the ASC. But, right now, our country needs a minimum viable product of ASC to see its ability to weave a stricter, more cohesive social fabric.
Great technology, it’s time to serve you. Will you answer the call?