I was going to write this post two weeks ago, but decided to wait. As I am writing this, Gaddafi has fled Libya and his whereabouts are still unknown. These are amazing times we’re living in. For years, I have been telling my audiences that in a more and more interconnected world, Social Media is forcing transparency. This is being proven out right in front of our eyes.
If you’re good at what you do and seek to add value to your employer, clients, co-workers or whoever, there have never been easier ways for that message to get out. If you’re a horrible manager, boss, team leader, dictator, or whatever, there have never been easier ways for that message to get out either.
So here are three things we’ve learned from Social Media in the Middle East:
1. It’s Getting Harder To Hide From The Truth
There was a time not that long ago when you could control people by controlling the information they received. Those days are over. Technologies like Facebook and Twitter have given anyone anywhere with a cell phone access to the same level of information that previously only traditional media companies typically had.
2. Ignoring People Will Catch Up With You
It is amazing to see how as people start to revolt, many old-school dictators think they can just ignore their people. The ironic thing is that the uprisings usually start as simple requests for communication. And the dictators just ignore the people and act as if there is nothing going on. Common (uncommon) courtesy says that if someone is trying to communicate with you, you should acknowledge them and reply. Ignore people at your peril.
3. You Can’t Outrun Your Character
No matter where you go, there you are. In the 90’s it was all about the “spin doctors”. Those folks who could spin information and make a croissant out of a turd. And they were good at it. Buh bye, spin doctors. With so much access to information nowadays, trying to sugarcoat something and pretend that it’s something else is a strategy that’s doomed to fail. It may work in the short term (and in this modern age, that short term is getting massively shorter), but it will never work in the long term. However you are, it will be exposed – good or bad.
Social Media is a communication tool. The most amazing communication tool ever invented so far. Imagine if everyone in the world spoke the same language. How many good things would happen just by being about to communicate with no interpretation challenges. We’re getting there. Yes, there are different languages, but Social Media is bringing those walls down.
The walls are coming down because even if we speak different languages, we all are so much more alike than different. We all want to be respected, loved and appreciated. Large numbers of people around the world are now seeing how free societies operate and they want in. Once they get a taste of freedom and the opportunity to express themselves, you can’t put that genie back in the bottle.
This is a topic that’s close to my heart and I’ll write more blog posts about it. In the meantime, watch how things are playing out. Future generations will look back at these days as pivotal to world events.