Do Dictatorships Use Social Media More Effectively Than Corporations?

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I‘ve done quite a bit of thinking about how the social web will make the world a better place. I’ve written about it, and also lectured about the social web, good, and evil.

So when a talk by Evgeny Morozov popped on TED on the topic of how the net aids dictatorships, I was naturally interested. Was somebody going to put up a good argument against my theories?

The answer is yes. And no. Evgeny argues beautifully for the ideas, but simultaneously shows how the dictatorships actually start using the web to reach out and communicate, much like I think companies should. They are proactive, the contribute, they engage, and they are present. They DON’T try to cencor stuff, because they have realized that participation is more effective. And I tell you – if dictatorships do this successfully, companies should too!

Then, of course, these dictatorships abuse their power to flood the system with government biased comments and spam, and commit evil acts, but I’m not as sure as Evgeny is about how effective this is. Compare it for example to this example from the very well designed guidelines at Intel for how to effectively use the social web:

Be transparent. Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be quickly noticed in the social media environment. If you are blogging about your work at Intel, use your real name, identify that you work for Intel, and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, be the first to point it out.

This is not a guideline that the dictatorships exactly follow. On the other hand, perhaps other commenters don’t dare use their real name either for fear of physical abuse, so this way It may actually work for government agents to blend into the anonymous crowd. Again – we see an example of how anonymity leads to evil and abuse.

Incidently, the campaign led by The Cartel to hunt down file sharers also leads to anonymization of the web, making laws like HADOPI and IPRED all the more troublesome – and also promoters of more serious evil.

About the Blog

This blog is written by Walter Naeslund and has been around since 2007. The blog is about the journey of starting an advertising agency and a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on at the Honesty HQ in SoFo, Södermalm. It is also a blog about communication & technology. The blog has gathered almost a thousand posts over the years with several longer and shorter breaks. Welcome and enjoy.
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