I like to think about media effects and generally find those effects to be more positive than negative. Case in point: Today’s college students “… are as likely to say that they are citizens of the planet Earth as they are to say they are citizens of the United States,” according to Zogby International president and CEO, John Zogby, in this Chronicle of Higher Education piece. He says that the current generation of college students is the most globally aware group of students in history, referring to them as “America’s first global citizens.”
Why is this a “media effect?” Because it’s largely attributable, I think, to the rise of social media and the World Wide Web. I think it suggests that the current generation of 18-30 year-olds – having spent a great deal of time during their formative years navigating an environment, albeit virtual, that is borderless, anarchic, and free of national, racial, or ethnic requirements for membership has developed its own culture — one not suffering the xenophobia of past generations — a junior-Army of global Davids defeating hate and prejudice without the help of the culture police.
The credit for this development, I think, goes to free-market capitalism, not multiculturalism. It was capitalism that spurred the growth of the World Wide Web and the evolution of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter that have connected the world’s youth, not Al Gore or Maya Angelou. It’s an excellent example of the beauty of spontaneous orders and what happens when people are free to act in voluntary cooperation.