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by MPD
Categories: Causes, People.

Over the years we’ve gotten a first-hand look at how everyday individuals, celebrities, and organizations are making the world a better place. While there is certainly no template for world-changers, one can’t help but notice that many of the most innovative global do-gooders are young people, hungry to make a difference.

On September 1, 2011, I’ll be attending the One Young World conference in Zurich, Switzerland as a delegate sponsored by American Express.

In short, One Young World was designed to connect and bring together “the youngest, brightest, and best and to ensure that their concerns, opinions and solutions are heard.“

This year, the summit will focus on 6 key areas of impact: The Environment and its protection, Interfaith Dialogue, The Role of Global Business, Developing Global Leadership, the Media and its changing influence and World Health.

As part of my involvement, I’ll be sharing three editorial pieces over the next few weeks based on these categories and bringing you exclusive updates and insights from the conference.

The Rise of the Conversation: How Media is Changing the World

20 years ago you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to read these words; 20 years ago I wouldn’t have had the platform to write these words; 20 years ago we wouldn’t have had the chance to converse about these words. This, of course, has all changed thanks to the rapidly burgeoning world of media.

Make no mistake about it; we are at this very moment experiencing a media revolution unlike any other. Technology and innovation has given citizens from around the world a unique opportunity to engage in real-time conversation and connect to each other on a global level.

In many developed countries, information acquisition is no longer limited to a singular source; it is a voluminous web of diverse platforms controlled by a wide assortment of content providers, curators, and commentators. For a young person with a cause, this universal paradigm shift has tremendous power.

With many turning away from traditional media outlets, digital commentators and citizen journalists are stepping up to the plate and literally changing the way people receive and process information.

In Iran, it was a citizen who filmed the death of Neda Soltan – a 26-year-old woman who was murdered during the 2009 Iranian elections – and helped shed light on the struggle of the Iranian people under a brutal regime.

During the current uprising in Egypt, social networks and blogging platforms are playing a significant role in the organization and documentation of the protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubara.

Not only are citizens playing an active role in the content we receive, they’re also dictating how it spreads. With social networks, location-based technology, and mobile communication dominating the world, now more than ever we’re witnessing that power truly is with the people.

So mighty is this media revolution, in fact, that many fear it could transform the international news landscape entirely.

Just last year, The New York Times‘ publisher and chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., acknowledged at the International Newsroom Summit that eventually the publication would not be a physical newspaper

“We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD,” he said to the conference attendees.

Television news programs have also witnessed a steep decline in viewership, while online video content continues to gain cultural relevancy: a viral YouTube video can have far more reach than a nightly news expose.

So what exactly does all this mean for the future? Will today’s media environment look as equally antiquated as the late 20th century’s does today? We can make predictions, but we won’t really know until we know.

There is one thing, however, that we can be sure of: gone are the days of single-sourced, non-participatory, and static media. Citizens – you and me – will only continue to play a more interactive role in how information is created, delivered, and shared. We’ve gone too far to turn back now.

The rise of the conversation has only just begun. And for ambitious young leaders dedicated to making the world a better place, this can only be good news.