Break the Internet and Change the World

George Strait once sang, “I ain’t here for a long time, I’m here for a good time.”

Age old clichés we have heard our entire lives which should be words to live by.

  • Live life to the fullest
  • Live today like it’s your last
  • Life is too short

Unfortunately we often get caught up in the day to day and don’t stop to appreciate what we have around us. Opportunity is sometimes right in front of us, but we fail to leverage the situation and miss the chance to make change for the better. We often hear how important it is to surround yourself with family and friends who bring positivity to our lives and who promote change in a positive manner. In a world filled with constant noise and distractions, this has never been truer.

The Internet Today

Let’s start with some facts. Almost 100 Million Selfies are taken every day. Collectively checking our smartphones almost 100 Billion times per day. 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every hour! Something has to be said about the society we have created. Vain, distracted, connected, informed, intelligent are some of the words we could use to describe the adolescents and teenagers, who only know a world with the Internet. An “instant on” world, where apps and social networks provide instant gratification, proximity to friends, family and information at a rate never experienced before. A society focusing on immediacy rather than important or accuracy.

Ignorance is no longer an excuse

Like many in North America, my grandparents of Italian descent, immigrated to Canada in the early 50’s. Assimilation was not easy. Life was mostly concentrated in your neighborhood and what went on around you. Only few had their own automobile. Public transportation was the norm and that was just fine. Language was a huge deterring factor as English was not their first language. Education was also a challenge. Not everyone had the means to educate their children. Many also didn’t know what was available to them as they moved into their high school and college years. Encyclopedias, for those who could afford them and libraries were needed in order to better educate yourself about the world.

For those 20 years and younger. This is what an encyclopedia looks like 😉



Picture Source -  historytech

Written letters were the only means of communicating with family and friends abroad. Not knowing what else was available and the lack of proximity to one another was a valid excuse for sometimes not reaching ones potential.

Often times, I hear people from my parent’s generation say, “If I only I had the chance to go to school and better my education. I would have done something extra special with my life! Instead, we had to work and help our parents to help make ends meet.” Very admirable, however unfortunate. Things were simply different back then. In all fairness, many bright and innovative people emerged despite their demographical and economical weaknesses. Today this is not the case. We have more available to us. When was the last time you saw a teenager open an encyclopedia? Better yet, ask them if they know what it is? How often do they go to the library to perform research for their school project? There is no need to!

The Internet and Social Media are Powerful

The rise of social media has significantly increased one’s ability to create an online profile (whichever social network they prefer) and to network with a potentially large audience. A lot larger than the network one could create without the Internet. Many teenagers cannot begin to understand the power of the Internet. Today all the information you need is literally available at your fingertips. Where else would you look? Children and teenagers (those who have access to the Internet of course) have all the tools necessary to succeed and improve their chances of bettering themselves. Perhaps taken for granted at times, parents should remind their child the power they have available at their fingertips. I know we often say how smart phones and the Internet are changing our habits and making our children more technology dependant. YOU ARE RIGHT! Some say we have become addicted. Don’t fight it, work with it. The technology is here to stay. Attempt to keep a balance and accept the fact, this is the way it will be. For parents, enforce some balance and limit some of the “Social” non-productive time your child spends online. It will do the children some good to detach. We can blame the Telco’s and Tech Companies, but really should we be thanking them for what they have done for our world and for our children?

As we move from smart phones, tablets, connected homes, connected automobiles and now to wearables, do you really believe manufactures will slow down the pace? On the contrary, these companies will fiercely compete and continue to exploit the connected world and fulfill the consumer desire to both create and consume more data. There is some positive in all this. Never has a society existed where literally children and teenagers can become millionaires in such a short time, because they took their innovative idea and passion and exposed their product or service to the world. Before the Internet lemonade stands were for those young entrepreneurs who wanted to have their own business or make some extra cash in their spare time. Don’t get me wrong, lemonade stands do exist today and will continue to exist, however don’t be surprised if technology or social media is incorporated with the marketing of ones stand. Start-ups have become mainstream and are now powered by young and ambitious entrepreneurs, who literally want to change the world. We always hear how small business are the backbone of society, or at least they used to be. This is truer than ever, with the Internet powering these entrepreneurial minds. Here is an inspiring list of 40 Millionaires under 20 years of age. Do you think a world without Internet would have permitted this?

How about all the negativity on the Internet and Social Media?

I will not sit here and write this blog with my rose colored glasses on and say the Internet and Social Media are perfect. We do hear about negativity the Internet and social media can bring to people of all ages. Bullying is one topic which has received much attention recently. The truth is, bullying existed in parks, playgrounds and even in the workplace way before the Internet existed. Today it is amplified because of the exposure the Internet provides. This can be said about many topics online.

We must remember that anti-bullying campaigns and awareness campaigns for any subject are also made more prevalent on the Internet and contribute to a lot of positive outcomes as well. Rather than harp on the negative, it is our responsibility as a society to learn about the negativity and ensure we are contributing in a positive manner and making these situations better.

Crowdfunding using the Internet and Social Media

Over the years, I have witnessed many forms of crowdfunding and fundraising for various causes. Some have been business related with various important and memorable Kickstarter campaigns helping fund some fantastic ideas. Do you remember the Coolest Cooler? Many campaigns have changed our world for good. Others have used the Internet to successfully raise funds in order to pay for expensive medical treatments. The Internet and social media made this possible. These are some simple examples where individuals harnessed the power and leveraged it for good.

The Selfie is NOT your Legacy

Research shows, people who post selfies, spend more than 1 hour per month taking, editing and uploading their pics to the various social networks. If you want to learn more about selfies and the time we spend, check out this interesting article. It’s no secret our society has become obsessed with selfies. In my opinion, this is a simple example of time “wasted” on social media. Selfies coupled with the voyeurism time spent on various social networks, we can quickly deduce that hours every week are spent on meaningless and pointless activities. The day you leave this beautiful planet, do you truly want to be remembered for the selfies you posted? Will it really make a difference how many friends, followers or “likes” you had? Don’t you want to be remembered for something that changed the world? Why not take that time and put it towards something constructive? Forget posting the duck face selfies and realize you have the chance to make a difference.

Break the Internet with Innovation and Passion

We all witnessed how Kim Kardashian attempted to break the Internet last year with her selfie bearing her most famous “asset”. I am ashamed for giving her air time and using her as an example in this article, however it puts great context around what the point I am trying to make. Although, she did not succeed at breaking anything besides repeatedly shattering any remains of dignity she may still have, today more than ever, we should be encouraging our children to “Break the Internet”. No we should not encourage them to post tasteless Selfies, but rather find friends among their social circles who share common goals and work together towards change in a positive way. Do you have a passion? Find those who share the common passion and make yourself loud, proud and claim your space in the online world. The beauty and the power of the Internet is that there are no limits!

Yes we need our children to spend more time in parks and on the soccer and baseball fields. However when they are online, encourage them take to the Internet and have them learn about their passion from the various social circles, articles and videos online. Perhaps have them share their passion, by starting a Blog in hopes of creating a following and becoming a thought leader! Then have distribute the content for you. YES that’s a shameless plug for my new Startup launching June 2015! (

The same can be said about children and teens who are artistically inclined. Don’t wait for the weekly piano or guitar lesson. Show your children the possibility of doing more with the Internet when they are not in their actual lesson. If I told you 25 years ago, that one day you could turn on your computer and learn how to play a musical instrument for free, would you have believed me? Pretty powerful is it not? Find some friends, create a mission, disrupt the status quo, make your voice heard and Break the Internet with passion!

Stop sending selfies through Snapchat and Create the Next Snapchat

This is a simple statement. Stop spending countless hours on Facebook, SnapChat Twitter, YouTube and whatever social networks you subscribe to. Rather than being a passenger on these sites, why not spend some time attempting to create the next Snapchat or Facebook? Find a problem and create a solution. Engage your friends, brainstorm the idea. Start small, speak to some mentors in the field. Guess what. You can find mentors online! Create an adoption plan! I know, it sounds too easy. We all know the chance of creating the next Billion dollar start up is next to impossible, however it’s out of the box thinking that develops minds and potentially changes the world!

Parent’s Responsibility

If you are a parent, I challenge you. We have all found ourselves reminding our children that there is more to life than spending time on their smartphones, tablets and computers. When your children are on their smartphone, encourage them to think outside the box. Make them aware of the thousands of young entrepreneurs who are literally changing the world we live in with simple yet wonderful ideas. The daily dose of social network activity has become very common. We all want our pic or video to go viral just because we think it’s cool! Why not go viral with change. Break the Internet and change the world!

Remember “We ain’t here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”

Written by Luigi Tiano

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