This piece by Ayoudo CEO Michael Tippett was originally published with Startup Canada.
Most Canadians think Canada Day is about fireworks but for the last 100 years Canada Day has ushered in dramatic developments in Canadian media.
Vancouver, June 18, 2012 – A hundred years ago the minds of technophiles weren’t being blown by the latest photosharing app or hi-res tablet displays. Then, radio was new media.
Earlier this year I wrote that one of the first social networks was the railroad, but radio had an equally profound impact on the connections Canadians have with one another. It was on Canada Day in 1927 that the first national radio broadcast traversed the airwaves.
Radio wasn’t the only medium to go national on Canada Day: In 1958 CBC television launched the first ever National broadcast. On Canada Day eight years later CBC introduced colour TV.
But over the last century media has changed in ways that the media visionaries of early radio could never have imagined. The line between audience and creator has become blurred and social media has given great powers of expression and distribution to those who could once only consume. Relationships have been forged, unearthed, rewritten and rekindled because of services like Facebook, Twitter and others.
These forms of media are now the defining structures of our culture. The product managers at Facebook are effectively drawing up the rules that determine when and how we connect with each other. Networks like Facebook now control most of our social and commercial interactions. Ten years ago you might have emailed your friends, but now you probably use Facebook.
But in two weeks, when you’re uploading pictures of the Canada Day fireworks on your Apple iphone, through Instagram to Facebook and you’re Tweeting it out and updating your Tumblr… ask yourself this, “which of these is Canadian?”.
Of course the answer is ‘none’.
One of the questions I’ve been trying to answer for the last year is, what does the next great Canadian network do? What is going to be the next railroad that adds to culture, brings us closer together, fosters economic growth and lets us use our skills and talents to solve the problems - both big and small, local and national – that we face?
At Ayoudo we’re taking a crack at it. We don’t think Canada is as good as it can be. We think there are untapped minds and able bodies capable of reshaping this country. We think they can get paid. And we think there are millions of others who want to get things done but don’t know where to get help, or who to trust.
With many Canadians largely existing in anonymous, fluid urban centres or solitary suburban landscapes, we have lost the capacity to form the kind of social bonds that raise barns. We want to reconnect Canadians to each other and create a solid foundation – a platform – for a 21st Century Canada that not only follows, but leads, in social media, and that uses media to connect in the real world.
We owe it to our predecessors as well as our successors to build networks that add value and purpose to Canadian society. So, Happy Canada Day. Let’s work together to ensure that our best ones lie ahead.
Originally Published at Startup Canada: Canada Day & 100 Years of Social Networks.