Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Social Media, Political Change

The internet has quickly changed the media landscape, eliminating paper and plastic in the form of letters, newspapers, cds and other manufactured products for digital ones. The rise of e-mail, iTunes, and of course Facebook and other social media tools. And the speed of this change and the convergence of devices have enabled quicker communications and sharing of information.

So is it no surprise that the internet has also made the world a much smaller place in collaborating ideas. The rise of these social media, sharing tools has provided a power for change unlike anything else in history. The speed of interaction and the breadth of coverage means more people are knowledgeable of what is happening both near and abroad. And it has given rise to political change.

The uprisings in Egypt, Libya and other nations, most notably where freedom is limited, all comes from this access to social media and communication tools. Where that change leads to is any one's guess. In Egypt, the movement was mainly peaceful although there were noticeable levels of violence. In Libya, the violence is more severe. The challenge remains though, at what cost freedom. Is there enlightenment among those involved in change that leads to a more democratic future or is it one that simply leads to more anarchy, terrorism, and hatred?

We ask, do the means justify the end but we should also ask do the ends justify the means. Will the end be more enlightenment of freedom for all, equality, and real justice? Social media may have quickened the pace of change but are these countries, ruled also by some religious beliefs that force ones ideology onto another, the best means for change. Can the more moderate factions outweigh the extremists who will fight to the death of all? One can only hope that with all the unrest in these third world countries, moderation and enlightenment can also emerge and prevail. Social media is an amazing tool and has now proven itself as a valuable means for sharing and disseminating information and knowledge in the fight for freedom. The hope is that the future is one that better serves the country and its people and the rest of mankind.