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The New York City and Facebook Analogy


You can never have enough of New York City! We made our trip to the Big Apple for the second time in less than a year. Last week I spent a grueling — but rewarding — five days there with my wife, Ivy, and her family. We went on several sightseeing tours, bay cruises and museum visits. The tours brought us to a number of boroughs in the city and historic places where great residents have lived (often proudly mentioned by tourist guides). Those great names have, in one way or another, contributed to the major development of the city. New York City, for many decades now, exerts a powerful influence over global commerce, finance, media, culture, art, fashion, research, education, and entertainment. 

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

While traversing New York City, one thought kept coming back to me. I wondered how it came to be that scores of great people and so many great things came from this city. Why is there so much celebration and life in the Big Apple? 

I listened to the song Empire State of Mind — I heard it everywhere I went, fueling my thoughts even more… 

“New York! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York!  These streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you….”  

Unknowingly, the answer to my question was waiting for me at home. I got the answer when I came across an enlightening article from the New York Times entitled “Yes, People Still Read, but Now It’s Social.”  I will quote the part of the article that struck me and provided response to the questions in my mind. 

“It’s no accident that most of the great scientific and technological innovation over the last millennium has taken place in crowded, distracting urban centers. The printed page itself encouraged those manifold connections, by allowing ideas to be stored and shared and circulated more efficiently.”  

Echoing the author’s sentiment— I think it is no accident that crowded  and buzzing metropolises (like Rome in Italy, Paris in France, Berlin in Germany, New York in the United States, Tokyo in Japan, Mexico City in Mexico and many others) were cradles of human society’s progress. Great minds from all walks of life converged in crowded cities that provided a “natural” environment for mass connections and collaborations. 

Natural Facebook – Using People as Platform

Now, I see big cities like New York, as a “natural Facebook” that seamlessly permits several magnitudes of connections and allows residents a fast-paced and persevering lifestyle. New York provides a unique environment to push innovations and inventions forward by harnessing community forces- using people as platform

In big cities like New York there are so much things going on and so much stuff to do that you can’t possibly concentrate on one thing; therefore, you work on loads of “focused items” by multitasking your way and leveraging people and connections. You build on the “popular highlights” of important things. I think that’s how New Yorkers succeed!

Photo courtesy of Ivy Remoreras Photography.

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  1. Ira Fialkow
    June 25, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Great thought provoking article Glenn! (Maybe we go to cities to “Harness” and go to the countryside to “Harvest”……)

    • Glenn Remoreras
      June 25, 2010 at 11:22 am

      Thanks Ira! I appreciate you sharing that New York Times article.

  2. itorganization2017
    June 26, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Excellent post, Glenn! I had the opportunity to temporarily move to Manhattan with my wife for 3 months last year. I think you captured the magic well and I love the Facebook analogy!

    Taking your analogy further, by looking at the opposite, one can contemplate the impact to society through automobile-driven suburbanization. No wonder so many people are going nuts!

    • Glenn Remoreras
      June 26, 2010 at 4:54 pm

      You got me thinking there Vaughan by presenting the opposite perspective to the analogy. Others would argue based on “happy suburbanite” hypothesis, that people living in the suburbs are happier and have better psychological health. That’s of course is based on the classic urban perception that bigger cities are more disorganized, congested (of course), polluted and has lower quality of life.

      As to impact to society with people moving to suburbs I think it depends on who you ask. There are a lot of factors really like— individual preferences, neighborhood satisfaction, employment opportunities etc… I think wherever you live and work; it will depend on how you embed yourself with the community you belong to. Embedding takes time obviously. The key is residing longer in the same place (as long as it’s a good place). This will improve social ties and local community involvement.

      I appreciate your comments. Thanks!

  3. Tito Emer
    June 26, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Good perspective. While others hate the rapid pace, huzzle and buzzle of New York City life I see opportunities business or pleasure. This is glorious Rome in the olden days. I’m eager to go back.

    • Glenn Remoreras
      June 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks Tito Emer! Sure let’s plan to visit NYC again! That will be great! But first — you guys should visit us here in South Florida. We can go to Miami, Key West, etc! Best regards!

  4. Glenn Remoreras
    June 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Some thoughts about the article from my Facebook friends:

    Diane Dales: “i imagine, with all the people living in tight conditions in big cities that people have to come up with the best to be visible (kind of like to mark their territory). when there is less emphasis on materialism, i guess people are less apt to get into the rat race, doggy dog world. now, how i miss home!”

    Darwin Deano: “Very interesting insight. Having spent more than half of the last 18 months in New York, I can relate to the observation. The pace encourages a heightened sense of awareness, purpose and need for efficiency. Unfortunately, it also breeds a “keep up or shut up” attitude. Good stuff, Glenn.”

    Thanks Darwin and Diane!

  5. Ryan
    June 29, 2010 at 12:16 am

    This is a great article! great analogy and it speaks to the heart of any big and prosperous city. Humans by nature has tendency to commune, cities are natural commune hot spots, more that anything people converge with the aim to develop or produce. Everything in the city is just about more crowded, more challenging, more robust and in between the challenges, insights and the will to stand out great innovations, greats persons and the great cities like New York are born.

    Also the song Empire State of Mind simply superimpose a very telling and very powerful declaration fit for the city and its people.

  6. noel tolosa
    July 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    This article just came in time as I get to familiarize myself further with facebook. Being an avid traveller, I am actually going through FB’s nooks and crannies as I would score a new city for its peculiarities. Much more that I have more time now to travel physically as well as virtually. Am sure you’ve heard I would be part of the Cem-X Alumni Association by the end of next week. Take note of my personal mail. Good stuff, Glenn.

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