What gets me every time I hear Martin Luther King speak is this: he didn’t have a blog. Nor did he use podcasts, e-mails or iPhones. He was a low tech-man. All he needed was a podium, a microphone and an audience. He was influential because of what he said and how he said it, not the pipe or protocol the message was delivered on.
MLK is a reminder that message transcends technology. The medium might be a message, but it’s not the only message – the McLuhan quote is so twisted and misused in one of the great ironies, as his obfuscated writing makes his message hard to understand.
The inspiration is this: if technology empowers people, where are the powerful, meaningful messages? On a day like today everything hot in the tech-sector world, technorati’s top 100 or del.icio.us’ hotlist, seems superficial and disconnected from reality. How do these messages help people? How does this message enlighten or effect change? What progress does this afford, and for who?
I’m trying to take MLK as a sanity check:
- When will I write about what’s important?
- When will I help good messages, and the people behind them, to find larger audiences?
- Why am I not volunteering more time for what I believe, rather than what’s popular, fun or lucrative?
- When was the last time I saw technology help someone in true need? When was the last time I delivered that help?
If MLK could move millions with the spoken word, what should I be able to do with all of this wonderful technology and empowerment at my disposal? Whose message is out there now that I can help spread or support?
“You want to be important? Wonderful. You want to be recognized? Wonderful. You want to be great? wonderful. But Recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.. By giving that definition of greatness it means everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” to serve. You don’t have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant.”
From MLK’s, Feb 4th, 1968 sermon