We have reached a new age. Did you notice? Did you hear what Twitter did about the regime in  Egypt? Have you heard about the internet Piracy Act being defeated? You did? Did you watch as former isolationist, all-controlling dictatorships collapsed because of Twitter? How about the revolutions going on throughout the world. No longer can governments isolate and keep the world out, away from their people. Isn’t that amazing?

It’s a bad time for scoundrels and ne’er-do-wells. There are eyes on everyone everywhere. Almost every phone on the market has a camera and you just never know who is taking pictures of you and recording your misdeeds.   More and more, the tools of social media are challenging institutions and opening up locked doors of the past.

How is this going to change the way things are done? Is it going to give us regular Joes more access to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers? Is it going to make people more accountable, and less likely to contemplate lies and criminal actions? I believe so, but here is what I am worried about on the flip side.

People have lost their jobs for snippets of a conversation posted on YouTube. The rush to judgment is too much like mob mentality for my taste. Every story has at least two sides, and all too often, the only side we hear about in a story is the side posted by the ones who have the most Twitter Followers. I am fearful that in the end, social media may not be much different than the old political machines. Amass the power and control the outcome. Spin is still spin, whether you use the mainstream media to accomplish it, or social media.

Social Media is a tool for engaging in a conversation in our increasingly virtual world. In its most perfect iteration, it also encourages face-to-face discourse. That is what I love about it. It is a powerful tool, which can be used for good. Social Media can begin a conversation and expand upon it. It can also be used against people and organizations, and we have already seen how effective that can be. But there is a saying about power and corruption that worries me sometimes when I think of what social media can do.

That is my conversation starter for today. You and I have seen some changes in the way things get done because of social media, and I anticipate it will have a huge impact on our future. What do you think? How will our world be different in five years?

social-cindy, over and out…