Social Media and Social Change: The True Power of Social

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Social media is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal, yet it can STILL be difficult to get buy-in from the c-suite when it comes to implementing a social media strategy. It’s a fad. It doesn’t work. I just don’t want to spend the money. These are common refrains from the corner office (still). So how can you convince the higher-ups that it’s time to delve into social media? Highlight how social media isn’t just changing marketing: it’s changing society as a whole. Here are several examples of major world events that were impacted by social media:

 

The Green Revolution in Iran

After the 2009 elections in Iran brought Mahmoud¬†Ahmadinejad¬†back to power, many voters in Iran cried foul, believing the elections to have been rigged. These angry voters took the streets in protest, using Twitter as their primary means of organization and communication. In fact, some observers referred to it as “the Twitter Revolution.” The Green Revolution became a model for similar protests that arose during the Arab Spring.

 

Military Action in Libya

In 2011, Western powers coordinated with Libyan rebel groups to remove dictator Mummar Gadhafi from power. Rebels on the ground would call in Allied airstrikes using social media, Twitter specifically, to notify bombers of key locations of Gadhafi loyalist forces. Gadhafi’s forces were defeated using this technique.

 

Protests of the Government in Hong Kong

Much like the protests of the Arab Spring, the “Umbrella Revolution” currently going on in Hong Kong urging electoral reform, used social media as a primary method of communication. In this case however, Beijing’s government used digital strategy against protestors, deploying phishing attacks to try to shutdown social media channels utilized by protestors.

 

Ferguson, MO

Following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 by a police officer, local citizens took to the streets in protest. Protestors utilized Twitter, Tumblr, and other social channels to document perceived police brutality, suppression of press coverage, and other injustice. Many images captured by protestors went viral, inspiring and engaging supporters of the protests.

 

 

Regardless of which side you fall on in a charged political situation as the ones listed above, it is undeniable that social media allowed those involved to communicate with each other in a powerful way. CEO’s who still need convincing of social media’s power need only turn on the news to see how social media is changing society.