What did the internet promise to make possible? Did it promise to bring a global sense of collaboration as we work together to create positive change or a global invasion of privacy? Did it promise deeper relationships with one another or loneliness, anxiety, and depression? Did it promise to bring us better-informed decisions through analytics and big data or complicit bias at scale? Did it promise to bring us a sense of global unity or catalyzed sensationalism and hate?
The internet has become the most powerful force of societal influence.
Technology has one goal: to scale human effort.
But what if the consequences of scale come with devastating results?
How can we ensure that our digital lives ebb and flow towards something good, true, and beautiful?
On October 16, 1963, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned these words from a jail in Birmingham, Alabama:
“Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”
Dr. King’s words echo, “We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”
Decades later, the tensions that Dr. King sought to expose are still daily news headlines. No day ends without us facing them.
The danger for all of us, however, is when these tensions go unnoticed or ignored.
Indeed, the internet is full of tension. It is an abyss of information and entertainment. Endless clickbait amid resources that are actually valuable. The danger for all of us, however, is when these tensions go unnoticed or ignored. It’s been said, “There’s a lot more gray we need to wrestle with in order to find the truth,” and finding the truth is the purpose of this publication. It exists to surface the hidden tension that is already alive, online.
In a pivotal cultural moment, we believe there’s an invitation for us all: to embrace the tensions of our digital age.
This is Grayscale, a digital publication helping you navigate the hidden tensions of our digital age. To accomplish our goal, this publication will name and embrace tensions, or gray areas, with engaging information and practical application.
I’m glad you’re here.