One author describes that long ago in tribal communities, individuals who did not share the tribe’s values, beliefs or customs were culturally isolated by being placed outside the camp, “beyond the pale light” of the tribal bonfire. One can only imagine the solitude these individuals felt for the remainder of their lives. If only they had smartphones and access to online communities of which to share in their common ostracization.
Although we would consider this rather harsh treatment today, there are still times when many of us feel like we don’t necessarily fit in with the crowd. Fortunately, today we have many ways to connect with people of which we share commonalities.
In the not-so-distant past, having a cell phone was only exclusive to a select few. Not so today. Wireless markets are being developed even in 3rd world countries. In fact, the GSMA, a worldwide consortium of mobile industries, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up to fund the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) initiative, allowing folks in developing countries to carry out mobile banking from their phones. They can keep and grow their money in a safe and affordable fashion.
This is just one example how smartphones and wireless technology are helping people in different communities truly share common ground – even in our basic needs. This leads me to believe that the concept of being ostracized to the pale light of the bonfire will soon be a thing of the past. After all, the next time you find yourself “beyond the pale,” all you have to do is use your cell phone to start your own (virtual) community.
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