The US and the UK may be, as George Bernard Shaw once said, two nations "separated by a common language," but they're definitely joined by a set of common problems: economic crises that have left millions unemployed or underemployed, an economic debate that has been hijacked by deficit and austerity hawks, and politicians with a remarkable ability to propose solutions that are actually making the problems worse.
Yet in both countries, there is a movement fueled by social media, community engagement, and the growing understanding that real solutions aren't going to be coming from our politicians any time soon. So, in the meantime, millions of people in thousands of communities are taking the initiative to connect, engage and solve problems themselves. This isn't to let our governments off the hook, or to stop holding our politicians accountable to solve problems that only governments have the reach and scale to address. But more than ever before, developments in technology are directly influencing how those problems get solved.
Which is why I'm delighted to introduce HuffPost Tech here in the UK. The site will be a hub for original reporting, curated content and contributions from HuffPost UK bloggers on anything and everything related to tech in the UK.
The events of recent months have supplied many examples of technology's growing influence on the ways we engage, and on our national debates that are increasingly taking place in the virtual public squares of social media. We've only just begun to realise the potential of the collective power and innovation of a networked citizenry.
Of course, like any tool, social media can be used for good and for bad. During the London riots, some used BlackBerry Messenger to organize their mayhem, but @riotcleanup on Twitter drew throngs of people to efforts to restore ravaged neighborhoods.
During the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, the Twitter hashtag #NOTW became the online equivalent of a rallying cry; at its peak, the hashtag was getting nearly 75,000 tweets per hour, many of them aimed at persuading the newspaper's advertisers to abandon the paper. These and many other instances have been amazing illustrations of what Biz Stone often says about the company he co-founded: "Twitter is not a triumph of tech; it's a triumph of humanity. " Or, as Kevin Kelly put it, "collectively, connected humans will be capable of things we cannot imagine right now."
We're launching today with posts from some of the brightest minds in tech, on a range of topics including:
So check out HuffPost Tech UK. And since your feedback, your takes, and your participation are a key part of what we do, please use the comment section on this post to let us know what you think.
Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff