Wednesday, December 30, 2009

True Confessions - Ulterior Motives for the Delaware Social Media Initiative

When I started thinking about this Delaware Social Media Initiative idea, my first thought was, "Wow, we can really make a difference in this state - promote business, help charities, and raise awareness of the arts." My second thought was, "We could make Delaware a magnet for entrepreneurs, investors, and artists."

While both of those reasons remain true, I do have some ulterior motives for promoting the Delaware Social Media Initiative, and, in the interest of transparency and full disclosure, I'll share those ulterior motives now.

First, I am a self-described First Amendment extremist - I believe that as more citizens exercise their right to express their views in the open marketplace, the better off we are as a society. I also believe that those views and opinions that are based in false information (i.e. urban legends) are more quickly exposed and relegated to the trash bin in which they belong when exposed to the harsh light of a transparent public venue such as social media.

Second, I believe that the social media tools available to us now - if used by all of us - can shape a very different future than the one we've been raised to expect. OK, follow me on this one, I think it's safe to assume that we've all grown up with this concept that advanced technology will be used by government entities to control the masses (i.e. Orwell's "1984," Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," etc.). But, what we're seeing now is a situation where all of us have more advanced communication tools at our disposal than the vast majority of government entities that are either hindered by out-of-date hardware or out-of-date policies (blocking access to social media sites like Youtube and Facebook). Think about this for a moment - this means that those politicians and bureaucrats who historically have used secrecy (or at least a lack of communication) to lie, intimidate, or otherwise exercise undue influence on others are now the very ones who are subject to having their speech and behavior broadcast to the masses and must fear being exposed for the frauds/bullies/idiots that they are. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

Third, I believe that every great advance in civilization comes about because of an advance in communication. Whether it's Gutenberg's printing press, Morse's telegraph, or Marconi's radio, we've seen new communication tools translate into great leaps in science, business, transportation, liberty, and overall quality of life. The thing is, where before we would need the resources to purchase heavy machinery, broadcast towers, etc., or pay to have our messages put out through those media - today everyone reading this has the ability and tools to become their own printing press and broadcast station. The more we engage in this communication, the faster we will see the next great advance in society!

So, there you have it - there's my deeper motives for promoting the Delaware Social Media Initiative. Feel free to share your thoughts.

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