Tom Hanks gave the commencement speech at Yale in 2011, and in his own characteristic way spoke at length about the pervasiveness of social media, our need to live vicariously and the hope he has with the younger generation. “Today is your day. Please, do not turn off your electronic devices. Leave your iPhone, your iPad, your Sidekicks, your Droids, your blackberries powered up, recording, photographing, texting out all that emerges from this stage over the next few minutes. Later on today you can compare your tweets and your Facebook comments with those of others to figure out if anything memorable went down. You know what, tweet that last sentence I just said,” he said.
But with the speaker being Tom Hanks there ought to be positivity. “So no matter how many times I do the calculations I come up with the social draw. The positives balance the negatives. The x’s equal the y’s and our hopes weigh as much as our fears but I hesitate on that last one because fear, good lord, fear is a powerful physiological force of 2011,” he said.
Entreating them to look through fear, he said, “Fear is cheap. Fear is easy. Fear gets attention. Fear is spread as fast as gossip and is just as glamorous, juicy and profitable. Fear twist facts into fictions that become indistinguishable from ignorance. Fear is a profit-churning goto with the whole market being your whole family.”
“Fear is whispered in our ears and shouted in our faces. Faith must be fostered by the man or woman you see every day in the mirror. The former forever snaps at our heels and delays our course. The latter can spur our boot heels to be wandering, stimulate our creativity and drive us forward,” he further said. He ended with a note of advice: “Which way will you lean? Which way will you move? Move forward, ever forward and tweet out a picture of the results. It may make you famous.”
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