Can Social Networking Create Social Change?

Whether it is the #Iran Election or your local newspaper it is becoming clear that Social Networking is changing the way people interact. We are now more interconnected than ever but can this have a positive effect?

The internet has lead to an environment where information and stories are freely accessible and it is difficult for large inflexible corporations to control the information flow as they have been accustomed to in the past with conventional media.

Whether it is tips on how fix your car or how a Tokyo street looks like the information is now there at click of a button. Social media has created connections between people and events that never existed before. I hope that this will mean that people will come to understand each other a little better. For businesses it is a new opportunity to understand their market or create a communication structure. For individuals it is about discovering new information and talking to new people they would never had the opportunity to before.

Large Institutions are coming under closer scrutiny as a consequence, either direct or indirect, of social media and new technology. The policing of the G20 in London has widely been criticised as a consequence of footage from mobile phone cameras among other factors. Even the MPs expense fiasco shows that the Government is not immune from such scrutiny. Most recently the unfolding events in Iran have displayed the effectiveness of social media tools in exchanging information.

For charities and other social movements, it is now easier to communicate their message to large numbers of people on a more personal level. High profile campaigns such as Twestival have borne successful results.

There are some who will talk about the darker sides. It is true that there are extremist groups who will use these online tools as a way to recruit and organise themselves. Paedophiles and other deviants will use it to exchange illegal and obscene content.

There is a problem though as such groups generally rely on the fact that their members having a limited view and perception of the world which they control and is not subject to question. This is not the nature of the internet as everything is questioned and is constantly moving all the time.It may be much harder to sell lies to people especially when you are using the internet to do it.

Ultimately internet entities, be they individuals or businesses or even governments, should act authentically and with integrity if they want to succeed. If this is the case the positives effects will be massive and the negative ones neglible.

I hope that these new tools enable us to understand our humanity and get along a little better.