It Is Up to Us to Overwrite Tomorrow
BY CLAIRE GRAVES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE WEBBY AWARDS
At The Webbys we’ve been looking at the evolution of the Internet since 1996 and have had a front row seat to a number of technological revolutions over the past two decades. Each year we receive around 13,000 entries from around the world, and spend much time considering the full impact new technologies have on our personal and collective experiences—and where they can take us.
This year our 25th anniversary is taking place during a time of rapid and pivotal change. Over the past year the Internet has become our lifeline to the world. We have seen creatives across industries turn to technology and digital solutions to respond to the needs of the moment. From mutual aid networks to new games for collective play, to immersive experiences to virtual learning platforms, much of what we’ve seen created in the face of adversity is inspiring.
But there is so much more to be done. In a survey we conducted with our partners at YouGov for our yearly trend report, 56% of respondents agree they have noticed flaws in the last few months that they wouldn’t have previously noticed. Even more, 75% are calling for some permanent change to society, while only 8% want things to fully return to normal.
After witnessing so much innovation, and with the understanding that people want change, we’re asking ourselves and our community two important questions: What do we need to overwrite in our society, and how can my work and actions help build a better future?
At The Webbys, we think a better future is one built on three pillars: Inclusivity, Equity, and Accessibility.
The great news is we aren’t starting from scratch—During the early days of the pandemic, we witnessed innovations that can solve broken systems. To that end, I wanted to call out a few below:
The pandemic has left millions of people around the country impacted by job loss and without the aid they need. In March 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom collaborated with Bitwise Industries, the University of California, California State University, Salesforce, Mastercard, and others launched Onward California to match job hunters with opportunities, emergency aid and training. Within the first 10 days they had 500,000 visitors. It has now expanded to a nationwide initiative as Onward US.
There are many standout innovations happening in healthcare right now, namely through telehealth and the rise of mental health-focused games. In August 2020 Nintendo released Spiritfarer for Nintendo Switch, to help players cope with death and grieving. The game, which lets players care for their spirits before releasing them, received great reviews with positive ratings from 96% of nearly 5,800 players on Steam.
Vote Save America
To help engage listeners in local politics, podcast company Crooked Media launched Vote Save America, an online platform connecting voters with their state information. Throughout the pandemic, it has kept its community of over 500,000 voters up-to-date with mail-in ballot information. They also encouraged voters to become engaged with key swing states through the Save A State initiative.
This moment is calling on all of us, as Internet curators, creatives, and leaders to overwrite complacency, and pave a path forward towards a brighter future. What the next decades look like is fully up to us!
See The Full Series:
See the full Overwrite Tomorrow editorial series, featuring words by Ben Wikler, Colleen DeCourcy, Webby Executive Director Claire Graves, and more.