Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Social Media: Why It Will Change the World

It is tempting to look at platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and see them as mildly irritating teenagers that have yet to grow up, develop adult sensibilities and start conforming to the realities of the real world. Many journalists, judges and politicians take this view I believe. It is rather less comfortable to imagine Facebook and Twitter as the vanguard of something that is going to remake the world and change its realities. But social media is going to do this and outlined below are the reasons.

For 600 years we have lived in a world where distributing information was expensive and our approach to managing information was therefore restrictive. Information was a scare and precious resource because the channels it had to live within made it so. News was edited down into 30 second segments, marketing was edited down into 30 second ads and trust was imprisoned within institutionalized mediators (news organizations, banks, universities, encyclopaedias). The big shift has happened because social media liberates information from restrictive means of distribution -- it has meant that information has become free in both a monetary sense and a mobility sense -- and this is why lots of things are going to change.

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