We are surprised the mainstream media has not picked up on this yet.. Maybe because no date has been announced? But the General Election this year will be the first one in the UK where Social Media (SM) will play an important part, and it is going to be very interesting if you ask us!
We say UK, because in the US, Obama got the very most out of SM with a very well thought out strategy (his opponents were just paying lip service), and it paid off. We are sure this won’t have gone unnoticed by the UK parties and it remains to be seen how well they ‘get’ it.
But what makes it interesting is that, even since Obama’s victory, SM has advanced. And if we were politicians (rather than gobsmackingly good web developers) we would be very, very worried. Not for this election maybe, but definitely for the next. Think forward 5 years – how powerful Social Media will be then. We would even go as far as to say that the 2015 general election may well be the last one (as we know them). By 2020, the real power of a centralised government could very well be minimal, with every decision being scrutinised and judged by a connected social media generation. Anarchy in its purest form may well be on its way – Power to the People!
There have already been some gloriously (alarmingly?) anarchic moments on Social Media channels (Rage Against the Machine at Christmas Number 1 the most recent), and it is important to remember that anarchy has the potential to be a good thing. In its purest form anarchy is “a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organised society”.
In short: its basic premise is that people are, on the whole, good and most evil things in the world are actually caused by abuse of power. Historically, anarchy has become to mean chaos, disorder and violence, as it has either been brought about by a chaotic event (a government collapsing, or a natural disaster) or an organised movement, which has leaders with power (which eventually corrupts) and so by definition isn’t really anarchy.
Social Media could have the potential to change that, because, although behind every ‘rising’ there may well be an individual, or a group who sows the initial seed, if it grows massively, the originators aren’t particularly empowered. The power belongs to the crowd. So – although Tracy and Jon Morter, the couple behind the RATM Facebook campaign have gained a little fame (and allegedly have had several job offers – including from Simon Cowell), it is unlikely they will be able to repeat the trick, or take any sort of control over the chart music of the future. They just caught the mood of the nation at the right time, with the right tool.
Once this starts happening in politics regularly, it will be the same – no leaders, no one source, no one method, just the opinion of the crowd. A crowd who can now communicate, congregate, and make themselves heard with unbelievable ease and speed like never before.
Mankind has a history of inventing things which then go on to completely alter the way we live. We change things which then change us. The internet, and specifically Social Media, is possibly going to be one of the biggest.
Dang – we have done it again. We meant to write this post about the power of Social Media in politics, and how it can help you in business too! Instead, we have gone and spouted off about anarchy.. [shameful blush]
But whether it is anarchy or another means of marketing your company, we are convinced that Social Media is going to affect many things this decade. The optimists in us are hoping, on balance, that this will be a good thing (although there are clearly ways this can be used for evil too), and that society will benefit by becoming fairer and more honest.
Power to the People!