Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Multiculturalism 2.0

Alden Habacon is an up and coming leader in Canada, perhaps globally as well. He offers a refreshing look at the multicultural mosaic that is Vancouver, B.C. His article is an exceptional piece - a seminal work in fact. Habacon is the Manager of Diversity Initiatives for the English Television Network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In many ways, he helps set the cultural agenda of Canada, as he designs and manages the implementation of initiatives that support CBC's commitment to accurately reflect Canada's diversity – both on-the-air and behind the scenes.

In coining the term, "Multiculturalism 2.0," Habacon argues that Web 2.0 has changed the way multicultural citizens perceive, interact, and communicate. There are two particular thought-provoking concepts worth elaborating:

(1) Social Networking - There are a number of reasons why technology exerts a greater influence than demographics. Technological change is moving at a rate much faster than demographics; advances in technology are being driven by industry and commerce. Facebook has become the staple of everyone’s discussion. For the first time in the Internet’s history, something other than pornography is driving the Web—namely, social networking.

(2) Schema Model - The “schema” model of multiculturalism is based on the Internet. Imagine each one of the websites you use on a daily basis as an online space you occupy. Using this, you could draw a map (or schema) of the spaces you navigate through and essentially create a snapshot of your online identity—which, like your cultural identity, is fluid and is not limited to “websites about websites.” The Schema model includes all forms of culture: work cultures, music sub-cultures, academic cultures, virtual on-line cultures, media consumption cultures, and the most commonly shared Canadian cultural space: sports.
The most Internet-savvy new immigrants who arrive in Canada have better survival skills and have done more real research before they arrive. Many already have friends they have met online, and have found a place to stay on Craigslist. They may even have found a job before landing in Canada. The new immigrant of 2017 will be more savvy, more virtually mobile, and more connected as industry-driven advances in communication and media technology continue to rocket forward.

No comments: