Twitter-Strations on the Rise
When more than 10,000 Moldovan youths gatheredí‚ on Tuesday to protest the nation's Communist leadership, we were provided further evidence that online communications are increasingly facilitating offline assemblies - everywhere around the globe.
Organizers used Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging to spread word of the demonstration, share first-hand accounts of the day’s events, and express the opinions that led to protest in the first place.
The fact that this comes just one week after social media played a major role in protests surrounding the G20 Summit serves as proof positive that activists have found their ideal communications tool.
Social media enable individuals to find others in real time and engage in conversations without the hindrance of gatekeepers. And Twitter (the tool of choice in the examples cited above) offers journalists and the public an uncensored, first-hand account of the action from the demonstrators’ point of view – which makes shaping the overarching narrative before it reaches the mainstream media easier than ever before.
Furthermore, Twitter's open platform provides a great deal of potential for growth and expansion. For example, individuals can automate search processes by establishing an RSS feed for keywords or ““hashtags.” Once alerts are set up, new updates are sent directly to the subscriber – making it possible to transform a gathering of 100 protestors into a mob of 10,000 in only a matter of hours.
Social media are an activist’s dream come true. And as a result, expect ““Twitter-Strations” to expand both in scope and effectiveness as more people around the world learn how to leverage this powerful, easily accessible technology.
What this means for national and corporate leaders is that they need to understand how social media work so they can better manage the power of viral communications, rather than be managed by them.
Whether they choose to engage adversaries on their own turf (the social media realm) or simply monitor the online conversation for real-time updates and vital intelligence, they have to keep their fingers on the social media pulse. As we saw yesterday, sitting on the sidelines of the social media revolution is rapidly becoming a major liability.