How the Social Media Revolution is Changing the World as We Know It
What is happening in these hours on the Syrian theater cannot be defined but as a real Paradox.
Yesterday, the British Parliament has rejected a possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to deter the use of chemical weapons.
Why in the world the British Parliament rejected the military strike on Syria proposed by its greatest military ally, the United States of America?
The main theory to explain such an unexpected response, is due to the public recollection of what happened in March 2003, when then British Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed that Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed a threat to their security and that of their coalition/regional allies.
Blair claimed that Iraq could have launched a chemical or biological attack within 45 minutes and the Parliament's approval decision was taken upon that emotional sense of urgency.
After an investigation following the invasion, the U.S led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion.
Tony Blair lied and misled the British parliament in the build-up to the Iraq invasion, that's why in the British public imagery the words "chemical weapons" inevitably lead to the recollection of those deceiving lies.
The consequent situation created by those lies was well summarized by current British PM David Cameron: "Tony Blair 'poisoned the well' of public trust".
The War Speech made by Tony Blair back in 2003, was in fact a well originally poisoned by the Bush administration, to justify the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Indeed the fairy tale that Tony Blair told the British Parliament on March 20, 2003 was based on the story told on February 6, 2003, by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who appeared before the UN general assembly to "prove" the urgency to engage a war with Iraq.
Although the presentation failed to convince the members of Security Council, Powell succeeded in hardening the overall tone of the United Nations towards Iraq but failed to convince Europe where there was widespread skepticism of any links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
The British intelligence denied the existence of any terrorism link, given the mutual hatred between Islamists and the secular regime in Baghdad.
Now that the chemical weapons have apparently been used by the Syrian regime and we desperately need international support for an overdue air strike, we are living in a giant paradox because the US government's credibility is well gone thanks to the former Administration and because of this, no support by The United Kingdom, our greatest ally, will be provided.
Judging an history paradox is difficult because the British rejection of the military strike, or even better, the British Parliament's representation of the Syrian reality was based on the worst of all possible assumptions: that the American Administration could have lied on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime because last time they presented a similar case, (Iraq) they fabricated the whole thing and government officials of the highest ranks lied publicly in a solemn location such as the United Nations General Assembly Hall.
Some people overseas would just shrug his shoulders and say "ok what's the big deal?" but the British take these things quiet seriously and that's probably the reason why they never lost a war.
The most odd element of this whole story is the fact that what is really put in doubt here by the British parliament is not just the legitimacy of the Air strike, but the very reason for a military strike. Like if the President of the United States could lie to the British people and the whole world just to go to war!
This is quiet unbelievable but this is exactly what is happening, thanks to the destruction of the White House reputation caused by President W Bush, who back in 2003 while he was desperately trying to convince the world that invading Iraq was the right thing to do, he exploited the Presidency reputation, its historical greatness and its intrinsic credibility only to pursuit his own happiness.
The British rejection of the American Air Strike in Syria will go down in the history as a point of no return, because for the first time in history, the United States government's credibility has been questioned by the greatest of its allies: The United Kingdom.
However I don't think that the Bush Administration by itself might have completely destroyed the U.S. government's credibility, because as General Turgidson says in Dr. Strangelove: "you cannot condemn a whole program because of a single slip up"
Indeed in the past few years we have been witnessing an increased sense of skepticism towards the government's credibility and it has been skyrocketing in the past ten years. It started with the attack of September 11 2001 and lasted for the whole duration of the Bush presidency until the Election of President Obama.
More in particular, the discussion over the government's credibility has been boosted by the coming of the Social Media technology, through which, average citizens started to interact each other over crucial issues, to question government organizations, elected officials and the former mainstream media outlets.
Ultimately the social media revolution helped in mobilizing people for their shared goals. See for example the same-sex marriage that became a law just recently both in many U.S. states and in the UK, or the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is still active thanks to their social media channels despite the fact they are not acknowledged by any political group or party. People use social media to grab the attention of authorities for wrongful convictions, like in the case of Ryan Ferguson, who thanks to his 55.000 Facebook supporters managed to obtain a further appeal hearing.
The most important aspect of how Social media affected public life both in America and in the rest of the world is that it has helped the world's citizens to put an end to government and media deception.
The traditional media labeled the interpretation of supposed government lies as "Conspiracy theories" although if these were only "theories" they would have not been able to stop such an important institution as the British Parliament from giving its consent to an air strike over a small country like Syria. The conclusion is that something is definitely changed in the audience perception and its ability to debunk deception.
I think that time has come for all the world's governments to face more in depth their credibility problem and how to cope with this new reality that allows every citizen to analyze and scrutinize every single bit of information coming from traditional media outlets or government organizations.
The major change is that in a world of Social Media, you can't hide a skeleton on your closet, not anymore! Not even a bone, or a pubic hair…. thanks to the social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, people started to exchange information in a faster and unexpected ways.
You have to see this change like an independent alternative stream of information which has been created by itself and found its way to the world's audience in a very customized fashion so that everyone on the planet has the clear perception of what's happening. This way there is no risk for deception by propaganda outlets because they would be immediately debunked.
This stream of information, only eventually would land to the traditional media outlets which have been started struggling to keep up with the social media information flow.
According to a Survey made by the PEW Research Center, 70% of those interviewed relies on Facebook as their main news source while 36% go to Twitter.
This represents a major change in the media landscape, I would say it's a real revolution because at present Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have become the new "Mainstream media", as the majority of people do rely on these new media as their main news source and not on the traditional media such as the old tv networks.
People today choose to rely on independent and credible news sources that are not owned by giant corporations that might be entangled with Governments and whose credibility might be in doubt.
So what's happening is that governments might lose control of their public agenda if their credibility is only supported by old traditional media.
The collapse of the traditional media opened a completely new scenario where it's the people and not the government or the traditional media that controls the news and more widely the information.
In the past sixty years we have been passively suffering the corporate media message, which went on air on a one-way direction to our tv set in our living room and we were completely unable to verify the authenticity of the message, to respond or to interact with the media or to comment the news together with the other viewers.
Today things have completely changed and every message from the media is analyzed, checked, scrutinized, questioned, commented and only eventually gets labelled as authentic or discarded by the audience as a fake. In practice there is no room for deception or lying in the new media system, because average citizens have the tools to confront each other on real time on every single thing they re being told and that's an extraordinary instrument that can be defined as "real time democracy".
In fact despite the downplaying of the social media by the former mainstream media, the social media completely took over the news production machine and I am not talking about breaking news, I am talking about debunking the news propaganda operated by some news outlet which still at today think it's possible for them to present a manipulated reality instead of the objective one.
In a world made of social media, even thinking of being able to present a different manipulated reality is simply ridiculous. I just want to make you a little example about the power of Social Media:
In the past six months the Cable Network Fox News has literally fabricated a series of phony scandals to diminish the image of the U.S. President.
What they did is they have put into these fake scandals all their energy, time, money and all the human resources they had, but for the first time in history of modern communication, their attempt has completely failed and the products of their news-fabrication machine have been completely debunked and rejected by the audience and labelled as preposterous and ultimately fake.
This is something completely new in the media field: one of the largest traditional news media saw its content being not only disputed but completely dismissed by its own audience. Consequently Fox News posted its lowest ratings in the A25-54 demographic since August 2001 in both total day and prime time. (Nielsen Live + Same Day data)
In today's world the audience doesn't buy anymore whatever the traditional media pukes out. If you are not credible or if your information doesn't match with our reality checks, you are immediately vaporized and labelled as "not credible".
In a world of social networks, people make more questions and are not satisfied with the infotainment they are offered by the traditional media but they always look for a second opinion to confirm what they learn.
The general assumption that the media in the wealthy world are simplistic, superficial, and celebrity-focused is seeing a reversal of trend and average people they are turning to social networks to exchange information about what's really happening on main street.
However the traditional media, especially those linked to the Conservative side of the political spectrum don't want to surrender to the new reality and they keep living in a state of denial. Although the only effect they are obtaining is to lose more audience every single day.
We live in a world that learned that change is possible and that has become our daily goal as a global audience. Social achievements like same sex marriage, medical marijuana and other shared goals have been reached thanks to the mobilization of people through social media.
Despite these major achievements we still have to assist to painful show of despair by those sickening people who live in a state of denial and they fear the new media like the Devil itself. People like Pat Robertson whose masochist activism is still focused on lesbians practicing witchcraft, or Rand Paul ravings against people using food stamps.
What conservative pundits still struggle to understand is that the social media revolution completely annihilated the brinkmanship strategy of those traditional media that blindly represented only corporate interests. What happened is the new mainstream media, represented by the social networks is composed of people, human beings! And this new world is completely focused on the interests of citizens first and then on corporations.
This new vision shifted our priorities towards the well being of citizens rather than the one of corporations and this is a point of No Return.
In a such a new scenario there is only one chance for all of the world's institutions and organizations: to be honest and truthful because there's no chance of reversing the situation unless you want to establish a dictatorship.
America has the unique chance of having an incumbent leadership which is enough enlightened to take advantage of this new media revolution and lead the world to an endless time of peace and prosperity.
The only way to do so is trying to level (for what is possible) all the major conflicts within our own society by wiping off all the phony issues and the meaningless positions held for example by the Conservative groups as they really have no future.
It is simply unbelievable we still reading news about people being discriminated for having a darker complexion or Republican leaders not attending the MLK march. It really makes no sense, for a civilization whose main goal is progress and advancement. Physical appearance is something that can only frighten primitive brains, or it can only be a phony excuse to keep up divisions within our own society for a primitive political purpose. But who are the voters who support such a Neanderthal's agenda? You really want their votes?
In a world of social media, these are major blows for any organization, because everybody would know in real time what your stance is over such a crucial issue like Racism and civil rights.
The time of the phony issues is over. What reactionary forces still struggle to grab, is that people of earth will keep gathering on Facebook and Twitter and what they are forming is a single giant consciousness, that gathers the whole world in it.
We as a single consciousness are able to judge what's really going on and every lie or mystification or fake scandal would be immediately debunked because the world's consciousness is made of a combination of millions of opinions and representations that confront each other and mix and grow.
One way or the other the truth will out. Like in biology, where monoclonal antibodies tend to prevail over viruses.
So if the world's population gets everyday smarter and smarter and more united in a single giant consciousness, it becomes harder to fool them with the same old propaganda gimmicks.
At the end of the day there are two options left: 1) you make up a more sophisticated propaganda scheme with the risk of being debunked once more 2) You stop cheating.
E Pluribus Unum