Glocals: Acknowledge, Embrace And Use Your Power Purposely.

Glocals: Acknowledge, Embrace And Use Your Power Purposely.

Glo-whaaaat? You might have already seen this expression and thought of the combination of the 2 words: global and local. Bingo! The term is often accompanied by the catchy sort of slogan: “think global, act local”. Being rather curious by nature, I first bumped into the concept watching this TED Talk. It somehow resonated with me on a deep and personal level. At first, as a business student, I reconsidered the definition of “globalization” and how often I indeed enjoyed being able to find a fast-food chain while studying abroad or having the opportunity to discover, try and buy fruits from overseas at my local supermarket. Then, Tobias A. Fox’s message (the TED Talker) hit me. It was rather easy for me to understand that, despite being a luxury and privilege, it cannot be sustainable in the long term and reengineering this business practice surely should be key to the global issues we are all facing, which can feel overwhelming at first BUT if you are reading this, it means you have access to the internet, you know how to use it and you are most likely to own a smartphone, right? Perfect! I would argue that you therefore have an incredible dormant power you might not be fully aware of. Let me explain.

First, it is crucial to acknowledge the fact that an increasing number of individuals now owns a smartphone with a camera, which is both intrusive and insightful. On the one hand, intrusive because complementary to the already omnipresent security cameras, resulting in less privacy and a more secure society in theory. On the other hand, it is also insightful since it allows us to have a glimpse of other cultures, rituals and traditions as well as the reality of people inside and outside of our social realm. For example, I was glad to witness it is part of Afghan tradition to celebrate the arrival of a new baby in the family through a dance called Attan through the percussion of an instrument called Dhol or Tabla via a shared Instagram story by a friend of mine. According to Wikipedia, Attan is now considered the national dance of Afghanistan, and chances are I would never know about it if I was not exposed to it digitally. Therefore, whether you think our world is becoming more intrusive and/or insightful… You’re right. And that is fine, what truly matters is what you do with it. Indeed, in this digital age, both our data and attention are extreme crucial assets, and companies value it to the utmost through significant efforts to keep us engaged with their platforms (see for yourself; yeaaahh, another TED Talk.) Thus, the first key here is to be aware and acknowledge the fact that our digital presence can be the source of something powerful.

Secondly, it surely is worth recognizing that the internet, and social medias in particular, are potent glocalizing tools, thus the importance of embracing it. Indeed, they can also be a place where you and I can react to global events and can localize it at one’s own scale like I did following the murders of African-American citizens by the police. By the way, companies are also doing it for strategic marketing purposes. Indeed, on their website, Investopedia reminds us that the term is used to describe a product or service that is developed and distributed globally but is also adjusted to accommodate the user or consumer in a local market. I would argue it is crucial for internet users to borrow this commercial exercise to humanize local and global issues we are all facing, to attract enough attention as well as engaging in solution-oriented conversations.

However, the desired impact of our words truly manifest itself when accompanied by the appropriate set of actions. This brings me to my third point; we must use that power purposely because as Uncle Ben accurately highlighted: “With great power comes great responsibility”. For example, do you know Zulaikha Patel? Back in 2016, she was a 13-year-old student who, with fellow classmates, lead a demonstration against her school whose policy regarding black girls’ hair was institutionally racist since exclusively dedicated to white girls during apartheid, thus the movement being attached to a hashtag called #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh. Its intensity and the girls’ determination to solve that problem as well as making their voices heard brought their local issue to an international spotlight.

This article is not about activism or “slacktivism” for that matter but rather about revealing to what extent we have the power to make a change using those glocalizing tools to promote accountability, leadership as well as proactivity. According to Reyes (2006), in leadership roles 2, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences. Simply put, in this last TED Talk recommendation, Simon Sinek emphasizes the fact that leadership is not about being in charge (notably through job title or social status), but it is rather about taking care of those in our charge. Indeed, as I like to remind myself, as soon as on you have at least 1 follower, whether you realize it or not, you become an influencer, which is more empowering than we might think of, and it is the reason why I happily engage by creating thoughtful content in such platforms to exchange ideas and more importantly, proactively learn and get inspired by other fellows global citizens to use my power purposely.

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