The very real danger of social media

The-very-real-danger-of-social-media

The use of social media in real word situations has exploded during the last few weeks. First we had the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya as a demonstration of people power, citizen journalism, call it what you will.

We then had the appalling earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan where social media was used both as a reporting tool, plus a sort of people search service. Many of these events are thousands of miles from us and while we can applaud the seeming surge to democracy in the Middle East, what if it was used against us in our own back yards?

What if some extremist group of whatever colour, creed, denomination or political bent decided to turn up the volume and start using these same techniques to whip up a riot or two in your back yard with friends ands family getting pelted with rocks or worse. Would we feel the same about social media in these circumstances?

Kevin Tea is a journalist and marketing communications professional who has worked for some of the leading blue chip companies in the UK and Europe. In the 1990s he became interested in how emerging Internet-based technologies could change the way that people worked and became an administrator on the Telework Europa Forum on CompuServe. With other colleagues he took part in a four year European Commission sponsored project to look at the way that the Internet could benefit remote communities. His blog is a resource for SMEs who want to use cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies.