When I think back to important inventions of the past, the printing press stands out to me as revolutionary.  It aided in the Lutheran reformation.  It helped spread propaganda.  It was a game changer.  It’s a no-brainer to realize that our generation’s printing press is social media.

Twitter and Facebook played an invaluable role in this year’s Egyptian uprising.  Egyptian citizens came together and used Twitter and Facebook to quickly organize protests and mobilize on a massive scale.  Eventually, this practice lead President Mubarik to shut down access to social media in his country.  This didn’t stop the determined freedom fighters, however..  Many citizens were still able to get around the government’s roadblocks using proxies or calling people in other countries and having them tweet the phone conversations.

Ten years ago this kind of organization wouldn’t have even been possible.  The protestors would have been beaten and arrested in silence.  The most we would have heard about it is perhaps a blurb from the filtered media.  Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are allowing the voice of the common man to be heard, untouched by the hands of those who wish to control information.

Until recently, I didn’t take Twitter or Facebook very seriously.  I saw Facebook as a good advertising tool and a portal to wasting away the ever decreasing minutes of our lives.  Admittedly, I never really got Twitter.  Thanks to recent world events, I can now see the benefit of both social media sites.  There is a great deal of unfiltered, first-hand information.  That being said, 98%* of the tweets are total rubbish.

I have to wonder what the future will hold.  Will the fascist oppressors of the world unite against unfiltered, social media?  If the world doesn’t suffer a complete collapse due to rampant class warfare we might be headed into an era of unparalleled transparency.  I would personally like to see social media marketed in this new, helpful way.  Maybe instead of appealing to the teenage girl sharing her mood every 5 minutes, Twitter and Facebook could mature into respected information outlets.

* Figure is not real, I completely made it up.