Web 2.0 has ushered in a number of concepts that are going to change society more than we now understand.
I am confident that 100 years from now, we will look at this time in the same way we now think of the 1400’s and the Guttenberg press.
Social tools are connecting people and organizations in immersive ways and the fruits of those connections are setting a new bar for the impact on our lives.
The latest to spur a lot of debate has been the KONY 2012 viral video and its effort to make the world aware of an African war criminal that just happens to be number one on the international most wanted list. If you have not seen the video about Joseph
Kony yet, here is a link.
We call the ability for regular (non media) people to deliver “news” to the world, Citizen Journalism. We just produced a powerful video that describes this concept in 3 minutes – I encourage you to watch it before you go on… (Link here)
The reality is there are billions more citizen journalists than there are paid journalists, and when events happen, the odds that a citizen will witness it are about 1000 times greater than the odds a media person will be present. Now that we have delivery mechanisms that can be accessed for free, and that publish our words, pictures, and videos worldwide in an instant, we have the power as online citizens to deliver information frictionlessly. Twitter, YouTube, and blogging have become our modern day newspaper, television, and magazine, except for the fact that we create the content, and have much more ability to filter out what we don’t care to see and find what we do.
I have been surprised at the backlash to the KONY 2012 video. As it jumped from 100,000 views to 75 million in about a week, people started writing articles attacking whether simply passing around a video would actually change anything in our attempts to catch this guy. Then commentators started going after the voracity of the small team (Invisible Children) that put it out. I suppose it is good to debate any topic so that all sides can be heard and considered, but really, some of the backlash is ignorant. A writer in Canada complained that the video was glorifying the promotion of the US military playing a role in finding the bad guy. He thought this was just brutish I guess. Of course it’s easy to sit in your safe home in Canada and take shots at the people who are trying to stop a guy that kidnaps children into sexual slavery and war crimes. Especially when it is not your child Kony just kidnapped. I suppose our Canadian commenter might feel differently if he was in Africa watching the abuse happen – then he would be fine with any military helping.
To those who feel like passing a video to your friends is somehow just a feel good statement that really does not change anything, I say wake up. Knowledge of a subject is better than ignorance. Millions of people now know this story and some of them will donate money or pressure legislators to take action. Not every single person will take additional action, but I promise the pressure is mounting on Kony and the light being shed on his story will bring his downfall. Still others are now complaining that the video over simplifies the story, which they say is much more complicated than portrayed. Well, I guess in a 30-minute video it is impossible to cover 20 years of crimes against humanity. Here is what no one should debate – this guy has murdered, maimed, raped and destroyed many people – especially children. I think it is fair to say that the video gets the important part of the story across.
Long and short, citizen journalism is a powerful new tool for humanity and we will see it used for good in situations where we simply did not have this tool before. That is a good thing for humanity. It saddens me that when a new technology is used for good, there are people that simply feel it must be bad for some reason so they try to rationalize the negative. For those of you that have nothing better to do than debate anything that appears to be new and impactful, this is about how you sound to me…
If you had been around during the invention of the Guttenberg press your likely comments would have been along these lines:
1 – These books are ridiculous. It will damage your eyes to read so many words all at once. And, it takes too long to read these stories – work productivity will suffer. Word of mouth is a much better communication method, we should stick with it.
2 – The problem with books is that not everyone can read them so it is patently unfair for us to produce them because it leaves out all the non-readers.
3 – The printing of books is dangerous because anyone can now print one and appear to be an expert. How will the regular people know if the book speaks the truth? There could be a future with thousands of books from false prophets leading the world astray. We should burn them all.
Come to think if it, people actually said these kinds of things back then. I would like to think we are becoming more enlightened as a species, but I guess not much has changed with some people…