A month or so ago I needed some better graphics for a series of keynote talks that were coming up, so I asked Franziska Mueller, an intern who was working with our Media Flow project, if she would re-design and illustrate several of our key ideas -- and she did a great job! I wanted to pay for her talent and time, but she insisted it was not a big deal. When I later learned that she and her husband had rescued an abandoned dog in New Zealand and wanted to take Pai (the dog) with them when they return to Germany, my wife and I decided to help them out a little. Giving on-line was easy, thanks to an on-line giving service provided by a local telco.
On-line social giving sites are showing up all over the web, and by coincidence the day after giving on-line, the New Zealand Herald featured this TEDx Auckland talk by Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, explaining the Maori concept of 'utu' and the importance of reciprocity (give and take) in our indigenous Aotearoa (New Zealand) culture. I met Dale a few years ago when she was visiting the New Zealand Leadership Institute at the Business School. She recently has started a social giving organisation, called Good World, based in Washington, DC.
Dale's talk is inspiring. At a time when there is a lot of fear and loathing around the Internet, it is heartening to be reminded that technology-enabled platforms are just another way in which the 'good' elements of traditional cultures and societies can and are being replicated on-line.
When we give to someone in need, it takes us back to our cultural roots, where 'give and take' bond us together. Some would argue that there are also moral benefits from caring and sharing. When we give a little, we get a lot.