Are You A Competent “Global Netizen”?

Are You A Competent “Global Netizen”?
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

In recent years, several Internet media have been booming in Taiwan such as The News Lens, Crossing, and udn Global. With global perspectives and experiences, these platforms unite international networks and passionate talents to build new channels and encourage youths to speak their minds. This diversity has become a unique source of Taiwan and young people increasingly dare to challenge what is different and unfamiliar.

“You have to take ownership and leadership of tomorrow. For that to be possible, you have to strengthen your capacity and widen your horizon as a global citizen. Go beyond your country; go beyond your national boundaries,” UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said to a group of young leaders at the United Nations Headquarters in New York last September.

I believe that when our children have a better understanding of different cultures and perspectives, they will be stronger, more confident and independent. However, not everyone enjoys the luxury of traveling at all times, so here are three useful tips for developing critical thinking abilities and global perspectives by making good use of Internet media:

1. Pick an issue and dig in

News is something you didn’t know that matters to you. In the past, the more respectful celebrities involved in the story, the more people were likely interested. They were the sources readers used to define what was important and not; however, plenty of we-media and Internet resources at hand today generate topics and features for readers. On this occasion, how you choose the news defines you.

Before picking an issue you are interested in, you can ask yourself three questions: What do I care about? Who and why are they telling me this? What do they believe in?

Due to the abundance the Internet media brings to us, you can read not only a variety of media sources, but also enjoy different patterns and styles such as multimedia, news games, animation, features and comics.

2. Compare and contrast different sources

Choose at least three reliable sources to make sure the story is true. If you really care about a story, then go dig and ask around. Seek out reliable reporters and make sure they are for real. With the help of the Internet, it has become easier than ever to learn about more in-depth stories by interviewing locals or creating a social media community for discussion. In this case, you will find more information from people who want to tell you their version of reality.

It is our duty to be responsible and engaged as global citizens. We should question everything and come up with a hypothesis. Next, we can ask questions to back up our point of view and research all our ideas. Think, watch, research and verify your hypothesis. Read the news for yourself.

3. Knowing where you are from and take on the world

Thomas Friedman, a well-known diplomatic columnist once said, “We are living in an age where everyone can opine. Anyone who has access to a blog is a potential writer, everyone who has access to Twitter is a reporter; anyone with access to YouTube could be a filmmaker. There are so many people opining the world in their own way. As a global citizen, you have to take on the world.”

Making your voice heard is easy, but how to connect your thoughts with others is another story. What makes your opinion stand out is to know where you come from and how your world view is shaped.

I am a big fan of cultures and languages. Other than hopping on a plane and going somewhere, I prefer reading books and collecting videos that demonstrate cultural values from the point of view of others. I have a pocket list that entails all walks of life living in different nations and how they cultivate their lifestyles.

The following is from a Louis Vuitton advertisement called, “The Spirit of Travel.” When I watched the clips, I saw how a world traveller leads a classic brand. This is a journey of change and travel into the future. Here are my favorite lines that I believe depict the vision well:

I have no destination, I have a destiny.
I don’t walk behind. I find new path.
The further I can see, the further I can go.
The horizon’s always moving,
Changing.
Inspired by the past, we make the future.
Above the ordinary, to the extraordinary.
We are passengers on different roads, part of the same journey

What about a journey of a backpacker?
A modern voyager, always looking forward.
There was a mountain, I climbed it.
There was a crossing, I took the open road.
I felt the wind, the water, infinite sand, pure sky.
I could see it all.
The world.
Whoever lives sees, but whoever travels sees more.

If you believe in something, you have got to drive it and invent a language that will stick in people’s minds. Try to name some issues in a way you can own it. Like art critic Holland Cotter once said, “All cultures are different but equally valuable; and all these cultures are also alike in essential ways, as becomes clear with exposure.” Pick an issue, form your own hypothesis and create a blog to test it out; it’s definitely a good start!

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Eric Tsai