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Copyright 2012 World Readable
Much, if not all of the success of the
revolutions of 2010-11 has
been attributed to the organizing and information spreading made possible by
sites like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. Armed not with rifles but
smartphones, laptops, and cameras, the youth of the Arab world has been able to
Tweet their way to toppling regimes and seriously challenging others once
considered unmovable. The atrocities of their opposition are no longer occurring
behind the brick walls of compounds but on grainy, shaky, but nonetheless
gut-wrenching video made available to millions on Youtube. Governments the world
over have invested billions into domestic defense systems designed around the
threat of an armed insurrection. But nothing in their battle plans ever
anticipated the power of social media in the revolutions of the modern
That's going to change, and don't think
the United States isn't included. You might already take issue with many of the
online restrictions already in place in the freest nation on Earth. Maybe you
took the time to seriously learn about
online poker strategy only to
find out internet gambling is pretty much illegal in this country. That probably
upsets you very much. But the internet poses potentially bigger problems to
those in charge besides gambling complications. The United States and other
stable countries are just a catastrophe away Â whether economical or natural or
otherwise Â from undergoing domestic crises similar to those in the Middle East.
Not even that Â even localized issues can generate paramount protesting and
upheaval if they're bad enough. This will obviously be fueled by the same social
media tools used to launch the Arab Spring.
Leaders and lawmakers here are
undoubtedly interested in inhibiting the revolutionary power of social media.
The freedom of assembly, along with the other free speech rights entailed by the
amendment, were not written
to anticipate the potential for information to be spread instantly and to
millions. These issues have their origins in radio, television, and the internet
in general, but not since social media has the information been completely
outside the control of the government. Radio, television, and the internet are
at least in some ways regulated by the FCC, and not only that much of the
information that gets processed by the public is filtered through corporate
influence and the industry focus of pushing commodities through communication:
commercials. There are no such filters in social media. People can say just
about anything to just about anyone who wants to listen.
How will lawmakers attempt to maneuver around our first amendment rights and restrict the social media inspired revolutions of the future? If legislators are good at one thing it's getting around the constitution as much as possible without actually infringing upon it. Watch for the way the internet itself is regulated in coming years Â it might be the fate of online poker that you're most interested in but the political posturing may be less about such immediate concerns and more about keeping the ability to access one another so easily through social media to a minimum. Just remember, until then you'll have the power of social media on your side to prevent it. Take a lesson from the Arab Spring and prevent the fall of social media freedom.