“The internet is my religion.”
The internet may be many different things to different people; a time-waster, a digital blockade for interpersonal connectivity or a platform through which damaging ideas are capable of spreading like wildfire — but not for Jim Gilliam. Gilliam, co-founder of independent production company Brave New Films and CEO of NationBuilder says the internet is a blessing for him, one that literally saved his life.
Gillian gave a speech at the Personal Democracy Forum last year in front of fellow bloggers and web activists recounting his battle with various forms of cancer during his adolescent and adult years. Raised as a devoted Christian evangelical, Gilliam talks about how he was able to regain his lost faith through the kindness of strangers — all through the internet. After being denied transplants at places like UCLA and being put on countless waiting lists, Gilliam’s activist friends appealed to the wide web community. Within a few weeks, Gilliam received responses and now has the DNA of three different strangers coursing through his body.
Since then, his speech has garnered more than 500,000 views and has been called the “best video on the internet.”
This video is more than just an inspirational speech. It’s a shift in the way people view each other in the digital age, and the possibilities that the internet has to radically change countless lives. Without the internet, Gilliam acknowledges he might not be here today, a sobering thought for those who complain that the web has done more harm than good.
As Gilliam so eloquently stated, “We all owe every moment of our lives to countless people we will never meet.”
Watch Gilliam’s speech here.