The power of social media: Ek laaik nie n houtkop nie sou what

Ah. So South Africa is abuzz with tales of "controversial social networking platform" Facebook - and the group "ek laaik nie n houtkop nie sou what".

Ok. So, people, catch a wake up. This is social media. We've taken a soapbox, amplified the volume, and opened it up to the entire country. You're going to get some idiots. You're going to get some politically motivated content. It happens.

I'd like to draw your attention to 2 important points here. Learnings, if you will...

1. The speed and power of "the new web". From some young kid's bedroom to 702 Radio and beyond in the space of days, maybe even hours. We are dealing with a truly pervasive new platform. Even if 80% of South Africa remains unconnected, impoverished by the digital divide... The media is finding other ways to spread. Don't forget our 38 million cellphones - and the ever increasing ease-of-access they bring...

2. Look not to the destructive nature of the medium. I challenge you to visit that group - and click through the Wall Posts. Social Media is about community. The theory of community is that it remains self moderating. ie If everyone loved the group, more would join, and an "ek laaik" mini culture would be created. If, however, most people thought this was blindly racist and offensive - they would shut it down, take it over, post their support of our democracy. Which is what they did.

I'm not upset at a small few who create contentious groups. I'm proud that our online community stood up and did something about it. That's a tick for social media in my books... Let's hope South Africa looks at both sides of the story.

UPDATE: Ok, they've gone overboard. Group logo changed. Hundreds of members. It's like the schoolyard when the nerd finally hits the bully - and suddenly gets the sympathy he's always been craving. Sigh.

Moving on...


Popular Posts