Social media has proven to be a powerful tool in communications, but it showed its remarkable ability to give voice to those living in countries with severe censorship. Wael Ghonim talked about in his TED Talks how social media keeps us aware of what is going on in the world. It brings people together who may not be living in the same circumstances, but feel deeply for an issue such as the Egyptian Revolution. Social media allows people to come together, think critically about an issue and brainstorm together of solutions freely. During the revolution, people were triggered by fear, which is the power source of a dictator. But social media is the power source of the people. Clay Shirky, New York media professor, argues that “social media has revolutionized how people form political opinions and has made information so widely accessible that more people than ever are able to develop considered points of view.” Ghonim said that social media gave people that free space to talk about the issues and get the rest of the world aware of what was going on in Egypt, and some of these ideas that were formulated online were organized and executed in real life. Ghonim spoke of a Facebook Page that allowed people to speak out about Egyptian politics and one person wrote on the page about an idea of doing a “silent stand,” where people dressed in black would stand in silence facing the sea with their backs to the street for one hour. The first time they tried it, thousands of people showed up.
In China, the internet is so censored that the Chinese created their own social media outlets very similar to our YouTube, Twitter, Google, and Facebook. But even though the government monitors the web, the Chinese have mange to get their voice out by using alternative words and memes. Social media allowed the Chinese for the first time to get together and talk freely about their opinions on issues. The most intriguing part of Michael Anti’s TED Talks was when he talked about the Chinese version Twitter. He said that for most other countries the 140 character limit allows people to micro blog, while for the Chinese, 140 characters is a full paragraph. Because of this, “Twitter is another media, not just a headline to media,” said Anti. This allows them to communicate more to the millions of Chinese people who are visiting this medium every day.
Social media is more powerful than I think anyone could ever imagine. It’s changing the world.