Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Twitter and the Triumph of Humanity

"One of the things I told our team early on was that if Twitter is to be a triumph, 
it is not necessarily to be a triumph of technology
 but a triumph of humanity."
~ Biz Stone, Founder of microblogging site Twitter.

Who knew that 140 characters can change the world? It proves the adage: Great things start from small beginnings. Paraphrasing that to illustrate Twitter's assured place in history: Great volumes of history start with 140 characters of Twitter.

The upheavals that have been going on around the world - be it in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain in the Middle East and Tunisia in Africa - are said to be a product of information that people had been able to harness freely through the internet and unrest that found communion with others on the web. Their success had been hugely attributed to cyber-allies nurtured through Facebook and yes, Twitter.

The people of Egypt's reaction to the cutting off of the internet in their country by the government.
The success and mobilization of the EDSA Dos - the people power that saw the end of the Erap regime in the Philippines in 2001 - was largely credited to the power of the popular technology then - the celfone. (It's counterpart in the 1986 EDSA People Power was, I would think, the radio where Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin exhorted the Filipinos to take action against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.)

And now, coinciding with the decrease in use of celfones in favor of social networking sites, we see that it is the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter that have become the new tools that both spawn and move online 'revolts'.

In the recent debacle of Willie Revillame and his Willing Willie show, Facebook became the rallying site of the Filipino online community where they expressed their outrage at the abuse that Willie allowed a kid to suffer through the show. The fan page that was able to harness this outrage was Para kay Jan Jan (Shame on You Willie Revillame) which easily grew to over 13,000 fans within a month of the episode. Presumably many of those outraged online only got to see of the controversial episode via another gift of technology - the Youtube which by itself hopes to revolutionize our source of visual entertainment (as opposed to the television). Thanks to these tools, Willie Revillame is off the air (for at least 2 weeks; but hopefully for good), the media is now under pressure for the Dumbing Down of TV and are being tasked to be sensitive to the rights of children. It has also hopefully allowed the many who initially didn't see anything wrong with the Jan Jan incident to give it a second look and see how/why something like it cannot in the best interest of a 6-year old.

While the internet and even these social networking sites have their own shortcomings (and instances of abuse) and have much left to be desired, their gifts far outweigh their faults. There is no doubt that judging from these last months, Twitter (like Facebook and Youtube) are not really mere testaments to the awesome power of technology and the internet, but also to the resilience of man's own good nature.

The best of what man is and can be - still emerges from the seemingly unfeeling technology; our collective higher wisdom still comes forth from behind the computer screens and still escapes from our fingers as we type those tiny 140 character messages --- just like pleasantly discovering how a flower, or a hint of green, can sometimes vibrantly emerge from a parched infertile ground, from a landscape seemingly bereft of hope. It is like sunshine that breaks the dark clouds to cast its light of positive possibilities.

This is the triumph of humanity.

Book Recommendations:
Twitter Power 2.0: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time
Twitter For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

1 comment:

  1. now that is a breathe of fresh air! amazing read! i
    keep it up! i like this article!
    hooray for the good in men! ; )