Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Social Networking

Social Networking

  • If the Internet challenged information hierarchies with generativity defined as the capacity of unrelated and unaccredited audiences to create and share content and code social networking has set off the next wave of innovation.

  • A constantly expanding web of people-to-people connections now exists, and it has profound implications for democracy.

  • People are not merely connected to websites now, they have linked-up and are holding discussions. As governments recognise, it is not easy to confine information exchange to national borders. Citizens using mobile phones send out text messages, photos, and videos to friends and followers in far corners of the world on natural disasters, corrupt regimes, and anything else that interests them. In some cases, they provide the first report to newspapers and television stations, even governments, of extraordinary domestic events; lies are also quickly exposed.

  • Despite privacy concerns, the membership of six-year-old Facebook, arguably the bestknown face of social networking today, is 500 million plus. India, with some 15 million members and high mobile phone penetration, is sufficiently promising for Facebook to open an office in the country.

  • Activists have used the social networking admirably to pursue issues as wide-ranging as cultural policing by Hindutva groups, the arrest of civil rights activist Binayak Sen, help for Darfur refugees, and cancer awareness. Twitter is often credited with doing even better, by quickly sending out crisp 140-character messages around the globe.

  • Social media can achieve their full potential only when everyone has easy access to them. Open standards can help build several inter-connected platforms and strengthen social media. It must, however, be underscored that this evolution will depend heavily on the attitude of governments and the telecom networks.

  • They must not erect censorship barriers or violate the principle of net neutrality, which ensures equality of access to all users.

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India