As I write this, the final numbers are being tallied for Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Hopefully, this is more than just a marketing tool but an indication of a larger transformation in our society- a larger transformation of society. From Black Friday, a brick and mortar holiday and celebration that began in the 1960’s and meant the movement from red ink to black ink back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Now with our move from the physical to the electronic realm, we are met with cyber Monday. For this celebration of electronic commerce, we have Ellen Davis, senior vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the National Retail Federation to thank who coined the term in 2005.
The relative newcomer being Giving Tuesday which began in 2011 later getting the support of the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season. Asking people to give back and to be conscious of the good things they have and share their blessings. Maybe this is evidence of a progression or perhaps a return – a return to a mentality that we have not seen since perhaps the dark ages, the idea that we all depend on one another. Why the dark ages? Because one of the things that took us out of them was the invention of double book keeping in the 13th century in Venice. This allowed a way to manage lending money that has been driving our civilization for centuries. The Renaissance, the industrial revolution even the beginning of the computer age all driven by capital. With the advent of the web, we moved to a different coin, a currency of information. Hopefully, Giving Tuesday will be our next step, allowing us to see that the web that connects us is not electronic but our interdependent humanity, bonding us all together.