Darwin and Social Media: It’s Time to Set Sail

Almost 178 years ago Charles Darwin made his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle that formed the basis for Darwin’s  “On The Origin Of Species”. Quite a few things have changed since then. One of the biggest changes that our generation has seen would unquestionably be the accessibility of information via the internet.

Today people do just about everything online. They meet their mates, they do their banking and they socialize. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have grown exponentially, changing the way we communicate with our family and friends.

So what do Darwin’s voyage and the internet have in common?

Right now a group of British and Dutch scientists, journalists and artists have set sail to redo the voyage of the HMS Beagle. But instead of catching this voyage on TV over the next few months (which you can still do), you can follow, watch and get live updates of practically everything that is happening – live, from the internet.

They have taken modem equipment with them on the voyage and have a live connection through Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Flickr. On their home page you can view four web cams they have set up all over the ship. Earlier I watched as someone wiped off the camera lens, and crew members worked around the ship. Gripping I know. Still, if you’re interested in the voyage (or you suffer from IAD (Internet addiction disorder) like myself), you begin to see the appeal. Not to mention the opportunities.

Can you imagine what Darwin would have thought, almost 200 years ago, if you told him that you were going to broadcast his voyage live to everyone around the world using social media? That people would be able to see his every move, and in turn share their thoughts and feelings about the voyage – live? After passing out from surprise and disbelief (not to mention convincing the crew members not to burn you at the stake), I’m sure he would have thought it was a great opportunity. And then he probably would have asked what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks is social media?

This kind of interactivity poses some great opportunities to businesses. If a voyage far off at sea can broadcast live, so can just about anything else. What exciting times we live in! Has your business been taking advantage of the many social media opportunities available? If not, the crew of the HMS Beagle might say you’re missing the boat.