Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 18, 2011 8:44 PM

Why We Should All Respect The Internet (Just A Little Bit More)

The debate about the value of the Internet swells up every now and again.

People like Nicholas Carr argue that the Internet is making us stupid (see: The Atlantic - Is Google Making Us Stupid?). Malcolm Gladwell does not believe that online social networks are changing our world (see: The New Yorker - Small Change). The argument seems to delve too deep into the minutia of networked markets instead of looking at it from a more holistic perspective: when anybody can publish anything in text, images, audio and video for free to everyone else in the world (and in a place where people can share, collaborate or mash-up that content), the ability and opportunity to change the world is (very much) present.

Watch this...

I've been following Salman Khan and the remarkable journey of his Khan Academy since 2009. If you're looking for a quick shot inspiration, creativity, innovation and hope, look no further:

By Mitch Joel

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  • Mitch Joel

    So true ! I recently noticed that, in the space of only a few months, I myself have evolved from Nicholas Carr's or Gladewll's point of view, to something closer to Khan's way of viewing things. (Though the first 2 did raise some very valuable points in the debate at the time...). And I think (hope?) that more and more people are going through that path.

  • Posted by Josh Muirhead
    Mitch Joel

    I couldn't agree more. I haven been following as long as you with Salman's journey - but watching his presentation at TED this year concreted how amazing all this can be when we forget the augment of "it's on the Internet" and start embracing "look at what this person is doing"

    In fact, I used this exact example in a blog post I had today as well (got figure eh?). It symbolizes what is possible through innovation and using what is available to you.

    Excellent post as usual

  • Posted by Tim Vickery
    Mitch Joel

    Extraordinarily impressive -- there is nothing better than a teacher who is passionate and good :)

  • Posted by Tony Faustino
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I've also been following Sal Khan ever since I read this Fortune Magazine article, Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher (

    Here's some additional great content about Sal Khan and The Khan Academy that I've Evernoted:

    * How Bill Gates' Favorite Teacher Wants to Disrupt Education (

    * Sal's Amazing Global Academy (

    Thank you for sharing this video from TED about Sal and The Khan Academy because I wasn't aware of it. I enjoy listening to his views on education because they're so inspiring.

    Sal Khan epitomizes all that's good about the Internet: Be a good citizen by helping others.

  • Posted by Jay

    This is off topic, but for some strange reason, your TED videos never work in my Google Reader.

    This is an amazing video, btw.

  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    This is brilliant on so many levels. Salman is an excellent speaker, he has a "rock star team" and they get constant feedback from students and teachers and administrators to improve the ecosystem. One size fits all doesn't work in the classroom and certainly doesn't work in the boardroom yet we spend our lives attempting to create that.

  • Posted by Lem James
    Mitch Joel

    This blows my mind in so many ways! I would have to say I already believe the internet is a major GAMECHANGER! The advances that are possible in the next ten years of creativity are going to change the way things happen.

    Possibly the most noteworthy thing to me is that Salman was an analyst at a hedge fund and by showing his natural care to his cousins in a public forum he transformed his life and the lives of exponentially (possibly everyone) more people.

    In the old world it would be possible for an analyst to write a math book or become a teacher. In the internet age it is possible for an analyst to rewrite education. And in his words "do something of social value."

    Great blog!

  • Posted by Charles Baratta
    Mitch Joel

    This guy is pretty amazing. One of the most popular Indian actor and He even has a replicated wax statue in the museum.

  • Posted by Deborah Hinton
    Mitch Joel

    This is great Mitch. Thanks for introducing me. At minute 7 he really caught my attention. And at minute 15 I knew there was something to learn here from how Salman is "using technology to humanize education" and bring that thinking to corporate leadership development and much of the way we do corporate internal communication. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I shared those ideas in a post on my own blog, because I find that many more people need to be exposed to them... And I find that they need to attract the attention amongst the French-speaking communities as well:

    Thanks again for spreading them

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