With Internet Blocked, Protesters Are Still Able to Mobilize….
So reads a news headline from The New York Times on Saturday, June 4, 2011. The Italics are mine…
The reference is to Syria and the ongoing repression by that brutal regime. But this is not about politics – it’s about human behavior and the almost stupid lack of even basic understanding of how it’s people who drive the use of technology and more so push it into directions that the obtuse analysts of our age never even imagined.
Imagine that – they were able to mobilize with the Internet. GMOOT – Give Me One of Those revolutions…
The press and such were so caught up with the already legendary Arab Spring and its use of Facebook, Twitter and the like that I imagine it’s inconceivable to them that people can communicate any other way. Let alone figure out how to rally together, organize and assemble.
Makes me wonder how on that momentous July 14th in 1789 the rumors in Paris managed to spread such that a crowd at least 3x times the expected showed up at the Bastille – not to mention the guards who defected and joined them. Imagine that! Did the headline the next day read – “With no digital communication at all – seeing as how it had not yet been invented – the French Revolution began…”
Or what about that fateful June 15th in Odessa, Russia, when in less than 4 hours thousands of Odessans gathered on the steps made famous in the movie Potemkin (the massacre depicted never actually happened, but that montage sequence inspired the famous Baptism scene in the Godfather) and made the Russian Revolution a reality – how did the participants know to gather? In fact, how did they know where to go? Have we missed the early origins of tweeting?
In fact, we have! And worse – way too many continue to do so in pursuit of GMOOT thinking.
What we are missing is the human need that drives it all. It only took a month for half of all Harvard undergraduates to join Thefacebook.com – the first rendition of today’s largest global social network. The lightening speed adoption was because Zuckerberg understood – clearly he understood – the deep need, desire, drive we all have to share and the baked-in-our-DNA behavioral triggers associated with that need. Facebook works because we have human needs – not because the technology application evolved us into a new form of life.
So when I see headlines like “Are Still Able to Mobilize,” I worry – I worry for our humanity and just as much I worry for our technology – because without the two intertwined, neither will get as far as they should. And both will suffer.
Seems to me that as we lurch about listening to so-called experts in social digital communications and the like, we are emulating the following – listen:
“I know a lot about cars. I can look at a car’s headlights and tell you exactly which way it’s coming”. Mitch Hedberg
If we are going to take advantage of the true power of the Internet – blocked or not – we had better do better than merely looking at the “headlights.”
And one more thing…
Check out Instagram – a new app for the iPhone (so far only iPhone) – one of a new group of apps that are about “the Social Web embracing sharing of moments.”
Glad it’s the social Web driving that behavior…
Now check out the Kodak Brownie – and go back further to Ancient Egypt and the development of papyrus…
Want to hear from you!!!