The Facebook Revolution

From the Washington Post:

[…] Facebook, which celebrates its seventh birthday Friday and has more than a half-billion users worldwide, is not eagerly embracing its role as the insurrectionists’ instrument of choice. Its strategy contrasts with rivals Google and Twitter, which actively helped opposition leaders communicate after the Egyptian government shut down Internet access.

The Silicon Valley giant, whether it likes it or not, has been thrust like never before into a sensitive global political moment that pits the company’s need for an open Internet against concerns that autocratic regimes could limit use of the site or shut it down altogether.

The article is a great read about the company that wants everyone to use their own identity, the dissidents of the world using it to network, and the regimes trying to gather up information through the site. It reinforces the importance of social media as a platform that can have a greater purpose than a place to play Farmville. To me, it also rekindles the notion that one of the most powerful connections in the world is the ability to share ideas. Facebook certainly streamlines that option and brings the world a tiny bit closer than it was before.

It also makes me wonder why libraryland isn’t using it for specific calls for change. Off the top of my head: ebook lending, copyright & patent law revisions, and maybe even putting a school librarian in every school. It might seem silly to some, but an active and highly populated Facebook group can have some clout. Hell, it can even topple governments.

Not bad for a site that has a “Like” button.

(h/t: Alexis Madrigal)

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