Thursday, August 26, 2010

Social Media Use Can Open Archaic Gov'ts, and Open Minds

Using social media tools (blogs, Facebook, Twitter) seems to be an act of rebellion, lately. 

People wasting time--but also activists with noble missions--are getting on the Internet and spreading the word about injustices. 

In Egypt in particular, this is happening--and the powers that be (judges, for example) are admitting they don't know squat about the Internet...and yet, they're trying to decide about rules and punishments for those daring to use social media to try to change the world for the better.

Where have I seen this happen before? (How about in my own life? See countless articles and blog postings written about me. Or don't bother; the point is that so many people don't get it...yet, so many other people, thankfully, do.)

This raises an obvious question: is suspicion of social media an old/young problem? Do older people just not understand how the world has already changed?

I don't think that's true. I know plenty of older people who are truly into technology and have worked hard to get up-to-speed and use all the handy new tools for human connection that we now have at our disposal. (There are also many people of all ages, though mostly older, who don't want to bother to learn anything new.)

As someone in the middle, I realize it's not too late for anyone to catch up and join in as the world is changing.

What are the benefits of social media? There are so many, but bottom line is that we can know, in real time, what is happening in far away and hidden parts of the world. 

Consider places where alarming demonstrations are happening, where violence is being perpetrated against innocent people who are daring to speak up and demand change. That's one very obvious benefit.

Other benefits include staying in touch and sharing ideas.

Negatives (as with anything, there are drawbacks) can be less face-to-face interaction, more misunderstandings (based on lack of tone in e-mails and all writing), and people who simply use social media to--anonymously--insult others.

I like how the "new rules" include the benefit of meeting people you'd never otherwise have a chance to know by getting online and spreading the word about whatever it is that you care about. The old rules--which still, sadly, infect much of social media as the  people who fear change try to hold it back--are "don't do anything with your own name online, because it could come back to bite you."

The world is changing thanks to our increased connections, and I can't wait for the day when almost everyone is online and has been writing about what is happening in their part of their world, in their own life. 

Only then, I think, will we start to better understand each other, and only then will we stop persecuting people for daring to speak the truth.


  1. Amen! You said it, and very well, too.

  2. Thanks. I loved this article--timely and purposeful for anyone, in any business.