The social media revolution (in 15 minutes)

Some thoughts on change, Obama and social media
November 5, 2008, 10:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

The digital space is buzzing this morning with the US election results.  Interestingly, I have yet to find any US commentator / blogger with any profile within the space that addresses social media to offer (or have offered) any support to John McCain and the Republicans (Examples – this and this from Robert Scoble, this from Brian Solis).  This seems to be reflected across the wider population participating in social media as the twitter exit poll I mentioned yesterday shows where declared twitter support for Obama is much greater than the support across the whole population of the US.

This is not surprising, since social media is a standard bearer of change in ways in which we perhaps do not yet fully understand and its proponents are more likely to respond to the Obama change mesage.  However, there is a difference between embracing change and simply sponsoring change.  Obama is a symbol of change.  Electing him as President is a demonstration of how much the USA has changed and, to an extent, is sponsoring the idea of change. It is not of itself any guarantee that change will actually happen.  The real test for change and indeed democracy in the USA therefore lies in the extent to which Obama will be allowed to deliver against the promise.

Likewise with social media, simply adopting the tools of social media is just a symbol, a sponsoring of the concept. It does not of itself signify even a recognition of the potential impact of the transition to a post-Gutenberg world that social media (or socialised information) is bringing.

The difference between the change symbolised by Obama and the change being delivered by social media is that we are moving to a post-Gutenberg world and there is almost nothing that can happen to stop it, but there is no guarantee, politically speaking, that we are moving to a post-anything USA at this point.  If I had a choice between Obama and social media as to who / what can deliver the greatest change – I know what I would vote for.


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