Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Social Media (12/01/11)
TITLE: Ubiquitous Communication
By Louis Detweiler
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Ms.Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State, encourages the use of social media throughout the world. She thinks if people can freely communicate and talk about government issues it helps a government be more fair and honest in dealing with its sovereign people. Facebook and the use of cell phones help a country to be more open. Having an open society promotes democracy and peace throughout the world. Masses of people can be linked together through cell phones, twitter, internet, and facebook. A government can’t halt the spread of information when people use the internet and cell phones unless the government compromises their own communication. If people communicate with their cell phones using satellites not controlled by the government it is very hard for a government to shut down cell phone use. Social media can help spread government reform from dictators and tyranny.
The Unites States presidential election in 2008 was helped by the grass roots efforts of millions of voters using facebook and their cell phones. The Arab spring that helped spread government change in the Middle East was spawned by social media. People would tweet among themselves passing damaging information about the government in power. Pressure became so great for some of these leaders that they stepped down from power as in Tunisia.
What makes social media so powerful is it provides instant communication. If someone sees destruction or bombing taking place that person can take a video of what has happened and then send the video around the world instantly using YouTube. Thousands of people who see the atrocity can immediately react by protest and pass the information to others. This spontaneity can invoke action from thousands of people within hours. If leaders of a movement want to stage a demonstration they can send information using facebook giving knowledge of time and location instantly. This ability to mobilize thousands at a moment’s notice can only take place through social media.
During the Libyan uprising against the dictator Muammar Gaddafi cell phones were used by the rebels to fight against loyal Ghaddfi forces. The rebels instantaneously noted and transmitted any movement of Ghaddfi forces through cell phones. The rebels could also coordinate attacks and strategic plans using their cell phones. Cell phones allowed instantaneous tracking of convoys, airstrikes, medical supplies, and troops. Since many combat soldiers had cell phones they could communicate while they were in battle helping them to gain strategic positions.
Social media started in the United States. Social media began with the business Friendstar in 2002. The idea took hold but participation was limited. Then in 2004 Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard student, created Facebook. Facebook was created with the idea of getting information about women on campus. Then the idea spread to get information about all students on different campuses. The idea caught fire and Facebook became known throughout campuses in the United States. Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students within the United States. Facebook is now ubiquitous throughout all segments of society. If users of Facebook were a country they would rank third in the highest number of people in the world.
I use Facebook to get in touch with friends. My relatives use Facebook. People I haven’t seen in years suddenly appear on Facebook. Friends post stories, show photographs, and give everyone their latest information on a recent vacation. I can quickly catch up with people I haven’t seen in years. People can form groups and spread information to one another within a group. You can invite friends to your Facebook page and keep certain people out of your group if you want. You can have private intimate conversations with Facebook or promote causes and events with Facebook.
Facebook is also migrating to business. The growth in social network patents have skyrocketed from 200 in 2006 to 1250 published applications in 2010. People can sell all sorts of products on Facebook. A marketing sales representative can post a page about their product and then form a group to try and get people interested in their business. Facebook will redefine how people communicate with one another.
Social media is a powerful communication tool. Social media has the ability to topple governments and help businesses. People are able to communicate when they want and how they want as never before. Social media will change the way of communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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