I’m smirking as I post this because the disputed Iranian election results have proved a very valuable point – that social media has most definitely arrived as a mainstream and global political game changer!
Iran’s disputed elections left President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Government baffled as they tried to stop Iranians from organizing themselves by using social media to become citizen journalists. Even as Iranian and International media we’re essentially blocked from reporting the election aftermath of violence and demonstrations, Iranians, empowered by mobile phones and internet connectivity became the news makers for the rest of the world. They used Twitter, Blogs, YouTube and other social networks to get their message heard – that they we’re not taking the results kindly and would start a revolution using technology.
I hope that African Governments and Politicians will learn from this experience that we are entering a new era where the general citizenry will have a much stronger influence on politics due to the emerging importance and global reach of social media. The online conversation is going on out there and in Africa, which is now the fastest growing market for internet and mobile services in the world. The landing of high speed cables all over the continent over the next year or so will only serve to amplify social media’s political agenda, from the bottom up. This will not be be business as usual for sure.