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One Day on Earth: Burning Man-Inspired Virtual Event Aims to Bottle “Lightning”

October 10th is One Day on Earth. Project founder Kyle Ruddick hopes it will become a global social media platform for photogs and videographers.

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Starting Sunday and running for 24 hours, photographers and videographers in every country will go about capturing their lives and celebrating their diversity. Their uploaded clips and pictures will become a global, social film strip called One Day on Earth. But that’s just the beginning.

Started by long-time film producer/director, Kyle Ruddick, the event has grown in a two-year period from a small “lightning stroke” idea inspired by the performance of an eclectic group of musicians into a major NGO-sponsored event, including the participation of the United Nations and the World Wildlife Fund.

The Day has attracted over 10,000 participants from countries as diverse as Nepal and Bhutan, all the way to Turkey and South Africa. Participants are poised to capture everything from the mundane to life-changing, such as Himalayan treks. Ruddick hopes their assembled films and pictures and user bios will anchor a sort of hub for future collaborations and communication between visual artists worldwide.  

After seeing a group of musicians perform one night, founder Kyle Ruddick had a “lightning moment,” he tells Fast Company. He was taken aback by the power and synchronicity of a few diverse musicians playing together in harmony. He had the idea for One Day on Earth that night and it was an idea that he did not want to let go of. Ruddick always liked the idea of a “creative party”–like Burning Man, he says–and projects that are participatory.

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Some may have their doubts about the long-term impact of a 24-hour event, such as Ruddick’s. Afterall, there have been a few similar events–Blog Action Day, Pangea Day, and the New York Times’ “A Moment in Time,” to name a few. But Ruddick sees the power of One Day on Earth in its ability to enable people to share and connect in the ordinary–beyond the initial 24 hours. While the other events are missing a “community platform,” Ruddick says his event is less about watching and observing and more about producing and participating.

“One Day on Earth encourages people to actively engage and share with other people,” Ruddick says. And the event “offers a unique perspective on daily experiences, such as the ability to see 50 different people in 50 different cultures getting married on the same day.”

NGOs have also hopped the bandwagon in order to promote their own agendas, with raging causes like sustainability, poverty, human rights, and animal rights being promoted on the site by a host of NGOs.

There is definitely a reciprocal component to the event as well. “The greatest reward is having recognition that you’ve done something good,” says Ruddick, and that is exactly what the online platform enables–recognition from fellow photographers and filmmakers around the world that your work is solid. Furthermore, all the work that is loaded onto the site is being compiled into what Ruddick calls a “shared archive” available for non-commercial use by the public.

With any luck, he says, One Day on Earth will stretch far beyond picture-sharing to create more lightning moments for us all.

About the author

Jenara is an overseas reporter for Fast Company and a freelance writer/producer in Asia, regularly on CNNGo, and a graduate of Harvard and UC Berkeley.

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