HELL: Helping Everyone Live Longer is a non-profit that gives out bicycle helmets for free, no questions asked. It started when Zack Smith was looking for a voice — a way to quell the rage felt when a girl he loved was tragically hit by a car and killed while riding her bike in Allston, MA. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. So Zack saw something needed to change, and that no one was going to fix it. He stood up and did something.
For a while after the Iraq war started, I jadedly decided that my generation had no balls. That because we weren’t rallying in front of the White House, and massively protesting with sheer social disobedience the way our parents did during Vietnam War, that we were a generation of lazy, digitally-obsessed slackers.
But Obama’s win is indicative of a culture that is quite the opposite. There’s a lot of talk about the Obama campaign’s use of social media to evoke enthusiasm that garnered his win. In essence what he did is say there’s no “top-down” or “bottom-up” – but that we’re all voters, and influence each other with our enthusiasm through word-of-mouth.
Maybe my generation, Gen Y, isn’t all that much of a bored generation after all. There are those who really care about doing things, differently. Better. With more meaning. Utilizing MySpace as a megaphone. A grassroots culture which uses the Web, rather than real-world social rallies, to evoke change. With a focus on an honest bottom line: make shit happen.
The numerous green eco-blogs out there are good examples. So is Space Collective, which I came across recently. They’ve got a section of video “epiphanies” – young people talking about making sense of the world around them. Their opinions are so potent and powerful– and the Web is a perfect vehical to get their message broadcast.