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The Power of One. Caution!

Posted by: pjeanty

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Two individuals in Mexico are facing around 30 years in prison for spreading Twitter rumors of gunmen attacking schools. One of them had claimed that around five children were kidnapped while the other mentioned a helicopter firing shots at a school.  Parents rushed in a panic and that caused several accidents. 

During the London Riots, two people tried to incite violence by exhorting people to resort to violence on their face-book pages.  Several celebrities face the misfortune of obituaries regularly on social media by pranksters.  The ability to connect with 200 million people across the globe through a single click makes twitter a power that can be wielded for both good and bad.

While social media networks have enabled ordinary people to get following across the globe through sharing their experiences, it has also given power to pranksters who through causing false alarms are destroying the credibility of posts on the social networks. 

Many people are not even verifying the posts since they assume that something posted on twitter is genuine and this has been exploited by companies who have mushroomed only to push posts and traffic on social media by hiring people to just like or view or re-tweet.  Despite best efforts of the platforms to restrain such behavior, it is hard many a times to restrict this behavior.  This causes influence by unethical means. 

To give an example, manipulated opinion sites are today publishing ratings beneficial to the customers and not to the consumers.  They are also like traditional media threatening to blacklist genuine businesses by fake complaints if they do not take corporate subscription. 

Similarly, when one spreads news such as the Mexicans did, it genuinely can lead to large-scale disturbance, more so in these days when traditional media is following social media.  All traditional media now has space where they publish regularly the best social media posts.  What has happened thus is that the power of influence has passed from the batons of large corporations or political institutions to an individual with a computer and an internet connection.

So participation on the social media certainly needs some self-discipline, which cannot be imposed but needs to be inherent.  One needs to participate in social media with the utmost responsibility than one would have when interacting with an offline person since here he is talking simultaneously to 200 million users. 

A person with the right online marketing strategy can make him more popular than even the president of the United States and at the same time can make himself as dangerous than Bin Laden. 

Internet has not just broken down geographical barriers, but it has also broken down governance into a more decentralized manner where everyone matters, especially the ONE.