Jeff Jarvis argues that great technology exists and citizens are starting to use it to their advantage, but large institutions are lagging behind.
People are experimenting with social media to see how best to use it to create change. Citizens are using tools like Facebook to express their views and opinions in new ways. This was seen in Colombia when more than 400,000 people gathered on Facebook to organize against FARC.
This trend is enabling people to “organize without organizations” as Clay Shirky argues in his book Here Comes Everybody.
Google has finally realized that it is in their interest to defend free speech. They now stand up against China in a way that large countries and corporations have not dared to.
Jarvis notes that "big institutions need to change the way they operate and see the benefit [of using new media]. They need to change the relationship they have with their constituents and see what comes of that.”
One organization that has seen great success through using social media is the UNHCR, which is sharing the stories of refugees through a variety of internet channels. Watch atlantic-community.org's interview with Claudia Gonzalez, who used to head Public Relations and Special Projects at the UNHCR.
As a moderator at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Jarvis tried to encourage organizations to implement these tools but he found that technology is outpacing these institutions. Click here to watch a debate on the growing influence of social media at the World Economic Forum.
Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?, blogs about media and news at Buzzmachine.com and writes the new media column in the Guardian. He is currently director of interactive journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
This interview was recorded by Joerg Wolf, Editor-in-Chief of atlantic-community.org, at the DLD Conference in Munich on January 25, 2010.
Related Material From Atlantic Community:
- Interview with David Kirkpatrick: The Internet Revolutionizes Politics
- Interview with Claudia Gonzalez: UNHCR- Tweets from the Edge
- Abbas Daiyar: Terrorists are Winning the Media War