For every Kony 2012 video that comes out to controversy, there is a video of the following variety that strikes all the right notes in its sincerity, humility, and grounded but visionary tone.
In no small part I think that this is what governments fear the most about social media and the internet that gives rise to legislation like SOPA and ACTA. It’s less about people rising up as in Egypt, there are some very particular circumstances that culminate to generate that sort of geo-political event.
Rather it is just simply the capacity for people to communicate with one another in ways they have not previously been able to. This is really the bright side to what some took to be the dismal conclusion I outlined in my piece about SOPA where I said of the widespread SOPA blackouts, “The context is a widespread flagging of trust and belief in the overarching institutions to which we’ve traditionally looked for guidance.”
Part of that flagging trust comes from the lack of integrity demonstrated by many of those institutions over the years. But the other factor at pay here is that we just don’t need these institutions to connect us anymore.
Israelis and Iranians don’t need to speak through their respective governments in the age of You Tube, Facebook, and blogging. As Ronny demonstrates, we can send messages out to one another directly and that prospect scares the living daylights out of most governments.
It remains to be seen where this all leads. Speculating on world events is a mug's game and I’m not suggesting some sort of trans-continental governmental collapse. But we may well see the emergence of a mufti-faceted worldwide civil society enabled in no small part by the technological and communicative tools at our disposal.
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