Prediction #3: Social Media and War
I feel like I have been using social media a lot as an example for a shift in the PR paradigm. However, I think this is justified. With Facebook and twitter, no one can hide from the truth. As I recall, Facebook really began to rise in popularity and usage right around 2008. This was the year of an election, and the impending end to the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.
In 2001 & 2003, when the US entered the wars, there was no social media. The public has to trust the government and the media to relay them the facts. What evidence was there to support us going to war? How long will it take? Who is the enemy? All of these questions were entrusted to the US media and government. Given today’s “coming out” of both as frequent liars and truth-skewers (“spin” artists), this is a scary thought. After watching “War Made Easy,” my eyes were opened to the massive propaganda campaign that myself, and many other Americans, “fell for.” At the time, war seemed to be the logical option, but as it turns out, this was only because of proper PR spin.
Today, I question whether waging war is even possible with the existence of social media. Granted, a deliberate attack on our country by another may be cause for war. However, paranoia of nuclear weapons possession by a foreign land, threats, or random acts of terror may not be cause enough to wage war in this day and age. For example, look at the majority of “wall photos” you see on Facebook. Pictures promising a chance at fortunes, Ipads, or stating untrue quotes are ever present! A quick glance at the comments below those pictures tells me that the trend is changing. Comments that dispute the photo as a lie, with factual evidence (often from snopes) to back up their belief. Seeing these reactions makes me believe that, with the inclusion of social media into our lives, the public will no longer fall for a government or media “spin” to wage war. With Facebook and twitter, we are now too smart for that.
In summary, the public now has too many tools at their disposal to be suckered into a PR spin for war. No longer are we blind sheep, we now have the power. The power to think, to question, and to believe what we know is right. Sure, Facebook and twitter may have the stereotype of being a giddy teenage girls’ hangout, but in reality, the tools are more valuable, more powerful, than even we know.