Social Media as Social Activism

My favorite quote from Margaret Mead reads, "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Never has this statement been truer than with the spread of social media. Just a couple of years ago, a political or social activist group required significant monetary support in order to have their voice heard. Today the mobility of social media has allowed a nation of oppressed citizens to transcend borders and make their voices heard.

The citizens of Iran have armed themselves with mobile phones and are releasing virtual grenades in the form of 140 character tweets. My Twitter stream has been transformed into a sea of green avatars as my friends show support for the people of Iran. The hashtag #iranelection has held steady as a trending topic all week. The Twitter staff even decided to reschedule maintenance so as to not interrupt the stream of first-hand reports of protests. While journalists are having their tapes and recordings confiscated, the people of Tehran are bypassing government censors to ensure they are heard.

For several years now the early adopters have been groaning about the death of social media, but I feel that we have just begun to see the power of online communities.