It does not help make difficult decisions; this was the resounding statement of Former Prime Minister Tony Blair at 2012 RSA Security conference. He was tackling the evident role of social media sites in overthrowing Middle Eastern governments in the last few years. Tony Blair said his warning about the use of social media sites for political gain. He added that social media sites are not government instruments and should not be abused for the sole purpose of personal political ambition. This is to address its significant role in the ouster of many political leaders in the Middle East.
We can remember that during the turmoil in various Middle Eastern countries, videos of seemingly brutalities committed by government authorities have been circulated through social media sites to invoke anger and discontent on their leaders. Instead of gun, protester readied their most potent weapon, cell phone cameras to take photos of their condition and broadcast it to the world to create sympathy. This strategy was efficient and effective and it toppled dynastic rules in the Middle East.
Social media demonstrated itself as a powerful tool to convince and instill ideas which can is dangerous if used for the wrong reasons. The power of suggestion can be easily conveyed through these sites by carefully planned rousing propaganda. Tony Blair added that even if social media sites are instrumental in the downfall of governments, dialogue must be made in order to restore peace.
AS the internet become more influential and its services become better, the risk of it being abused grows. If left unchecked, violent extremist can easily enrage the public by scattering bits and pieces of propaganda against a target individual or government. This is why Tony Blair is worried about, the abuse of the internet by people that are extremists.
Social media sties started as simple virtual venues in the internet where constructive conversation can ensure. Its intention was to connect and help people communicate with each other even if they are miles apart. The noble intention of the social media site was to promote peaceful interaction. But this seems to be overshadowed today by the power it has to instill ideological and political ideas. Though one can use social media sites to promote positive ideas, the risk of its use for more sinister purposes is always a threat.
Category: Online communication