And no, I’m not talking about how advertisers can use it to reach their reach target audiences. I’m talking about it being used for the reason it was actually invented. (Advertisers have just seen it as a new opportunity to sell to people.)
Social media was invented for people to stay in touch with, and network with, people over great distances, but in real time. No hanging about for the postman, or waiting for the next monthly gathering of the Women’s Institute.
The social media revolution I’m talking about is the one that’s just occurred in Tunisia, and is underway in Egypt.
In Tunisia, students arranged to meet via Facebook and Twitter. They uploaded their protests via music on YouTube.
It mobilised people that ordinarily wouldn’t have known what was going on in a state-controlled broadcast nation.
Interestingly, Egypt has cut off all internet access within its country to try and avoid what occurred in Tunisia. But I suspect it’s too late for that. The first tweet has already been cast and has gathered its own momentum.
The internet really has given power to the people. In the same way that the Gutenberg press revolutionized mass literacy, (thus knowledge), so has the internet enabled us to share and access information we would hitherto never have dreamed of being able to access.
Okay, so Egypt pulled the proverbial plug. But can that alone stop the power of the world wide web? I doubt it.
I wonder, did Tim Berners-Lee imagine just what he would enable people to achieve when he created http://www.?
P.S. Advertisers can still make the most of the revolution if they act quickly. “Two balaclavas for the price of one”. Or, “Buy two Molotov Cocktails, get a third free”.