Talk about the power of simple decisions. Our world is experiencing an unprecedented, incredible, and very recently, with the violent attacks on protestors in Libya, a tragic time. National governments in the Middle East are being toppled, literally toppled on the back of the internet. (The hope is this ends up being a good thing. Into a vacuum commonly races chaos, so we’ll have to hold our breath and support the people of these countries in whatever way we can.) Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets helped bring down Egypt’s government as the up-to-the-second activities of protesters and Egyptian military played out on the screens of laptops and hand-held devices around the globe.
Now Libya’s government led by the infamous tyrant, Muammar Gaddafi, is teetering. More than 230 have been reported killed in their attempts to secure more freedom and a more democratic process. Freedom always comes with a price. Many who are already “free” take that entirely for granted. For those in Libya, the current cost of even the hope of freedom is senseless, escalating human casualties.
All the while social media is telling the story, the real human story. As gatekeepers around the world scramble to order, arrange, interpret, appropriately slant to their personal political bent, and distribute the information back to the average citizen, reality plays out before our very eyes. If you want to follow a live blog of the events you can – here – (this page will lead you to the next days link, etc, etc, to catch up to the current day) of course, this is Al Jazeera’s take on the events. You see what they decide to show. But it is still, a raw, unprecedented way to watch the events unfold. Very different from the closely controlled “Assault on Baghdad” that played out on televisions around the world in the early stages of the Iraq war. This is a very different time, a very different perspective for the whole world to see.
Social media tools are giving a voice to those who until recently had none. If you have a cell phone and a Twitter account or Facebook page your voice can inspire a revolution. It is happening before our eyes. Never in history have individuals wielded so much power. It is an incredible time, one that will be talked about in human history for as long as their is recorded history of humankind.
The question for you is this: “What decision can you make today regarding your use of social media that will change the world for the better?” You will likely not be asked to give up you life in your struggle for freedom, for the right to pursue a brighter future. Be very grateful for that. At the same time, do something. Choose to use the influence you possess to make an impact today. Use your social media tools to advance the human cause, not just tell someone what you had for breakfast or you’re hangin’ out a Starbucks sippin’ a latte.