Ghettos are popping up all over the virtual place.

In the physical world, the ghetto began as a way to segregate Jewish populations from other populations in Italy and all throughout the rest of Europe.  Then, if Wikipedia is to be believed, ghettos came to the US, first as a way to segregate the Irish and Italian immigrants, then as a way to separate African Americans from predominantly White populations.

With that in mind, look down at the screen of your smartphone. How many apps do you have?

How many different neighborhoods, or ghettos, do they represent?

In the virtual space of the Internet, information may want to be free, but people apparently want to be crowded into virtual cities and neighborhoods—with all of the separation, regulation and virtual social norming as informal policy.

As we innovate further—and as digital natives move further and further away from the ghettos that digital immigrants seem comfortable in—the question we must ask ourselves is: Which comes first, the regulation or the innovation?

We have to figure this out as a global culture, because physical ghettos lead not only to segregation, biases and prejudices (which may prove to be minor annoyances in the virtual space) but also to poverty, lack of access to resources and reduced opportunity (which may prove to be even more damaging in the virtual space that in the physical world).

Conflicts between those in the virtual ghettos, those in the virtual suburbs and those on the virtual frontier need to be addressed by people who have experience with emotional intelligence, active listening and strong facilitation ability.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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