To play the proverbial role of Devil’s Advocate, I wanted to share this recent Fast Company opinion piece on the “dark side” of Twittering. Now, I am a big believer in open communication and the potential power of social media. But this article reminds us that, theoretically, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I’m not sure how your days typically start; for me, it is a healthy diet of news drawn from the Wall Street Journal, FT (online), NY Times, Washington Technology + Government Computer News, and the Boston Globe Sports page (with maybe a dab of espn.com thrown in for good measure). This week, however, my days have begun early with a # search on Iran’s elections by way of TweetDeck on my home computer or Twitterific on my iPhone. And I’m not clearly not alone.
In this article that the magazine ran earlier today, teacher/lecturer Jamais Cascio notes “the emergence of Twitter as a heroic enabling technology for the pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran this past week has been a thrilling reminder of the power of distributed communication tools. I’m impressed at how useful this simple application has been shown to be, and at the clever hacks the Iran-based commentators have employed to stay online. As so many tech pundits have said, this has been a golden moment for social networking technologies.
And, I have to admit, it’s scared the hell out of me.
While I’ll leave it to you to read his entire entry and form your own opinion, let me quote the underlying idea of this piece “the same technologies that have allowed for a potential democratic revolution in Iran could emerge just as readily in support of something far more sinister.”
The same could be said for smoke signals. For nearly every good done with technology, there is someone thinking of using that technology for something that some might consider “sinister”. Do you fear this? I consider this progress and I believe the good outweighs the bad.