Technology: Is it a friend or foe.?
It seems relevant to start off the weekly topic with Social Media.
Social Media: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
The positive aspect of Social Media is the exchange of information between communities and Cultures that normally could not interact without the important bridge of technology. These communication restrictions could come from many aspects such as location, religious differences, and political reasons. Social Media allows for groups, individuals, and communities to communicate openly, confidentially if needed, and without fear of retaliation. It is possibly the last and only version of free speech in the World today.
Social groups can influence great change in the World. We are currently seeing this fact in the middle East with the political unrest and revolt against the government by the People of Egypt. Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media outlets allowed a politically repressed population to voice their desire for freedom against the tyranny that they feel in their government and Dictator. The biggest fear of the Ruling Class, or in this case a Dictator, is the communication and cohesiveness of the people they rule. The people of Egypt have been ruled by Mubarak for thirty years and have been unable to oust this Dictator because the country has run by terror. When there are no outlets for free expression, the people of any culture will feel isolated and unable to impact change without fear of punishment and or death. With Social Media, the government of Egypt was unable to control the flow of information, and the groups of people gathering together in virtual meeting halls. The people of Egypt were given the opportunity through these Social Media portals to pool ideas of how they could gain freedom from this Dictator and acted on this.
Immediately after the protests in Egypt took place the government took the Internet and phone networks offline. But, this action was too late. The Social Media was not and is not what is leading the revolt. The people of Egypt are leading the revolt. The Culture in Egypt is leading the revolt. The technologies of Social Media allowed for these people to find solidarity in their fellow countrymen and woman and that change could occur if they stood together and unified. After the intention for change and finally action occurred, the use of Social Media was no longer needed to continue short term cohesion of ideals.