On the Internet we continue an old tradition of social media, pioneered in the Roman Republic. I look at the social media leaders in the past who were good at doing things. They really paved the way for what’s happening today with technology. The Internet and social media have been a way to give a real voice to the voiceless and real power to the powerless. It’s created a space for citizen journalism.
If we look back, we’ll realize that there were many powerful social media leaders of the past, for example:
1. Julius Caesar was an early blogger, even though it was very low tech.
Looks to me that Julius Caesar was not only a blogger re: the conquest of Gaul, but he kinda invented journalism in its most literal sense.
2. It got a little better with Martin Luther, who decided to use an evolved form of the same network. He got pretty good, blogging on a church blog. Luther blogged his way to major religious and social change.
Of course Luther was assisted by this printing press thing – and this evolved in the Twitter revolution of 1688. He used the efforts of a nerd, a guy Johannes Gutenberg, to great effect. (Gutenberg got great stuff done, but it was Luther who got big stuff done.)
3. John Locke, the one who lived in 1688, not the John Locke in Lost. Good show, but you could only understand it if you knew a lot about quantum physics. I know a lot of you want to hear it more about quantum physics, but more later… Just be glad I’m not going on a Game of Thrones rant.
(I’d like to credit two books for much of this: Tom Standage’s The Writing on the Wall and Jeff Jarvis’ Gutenberg the Geek.)
You can’t make change from the top down. The president’s the most powerful person in the world, but not that powerful. What’s powerful is when people in the trenches work together to get things done, and that’s what makes a difference.
My deal is to try to get folks to work together. It’s important to give a voice to people who never had one, and then to share their work. My stuff to date gives me a bit of a bully pulpit that I don’t need for myself. However, I use it on a daily basis to get the word out on behalf other others.
My joke, occasionally tweeted, is that I retweet a lot because 1) it’s good to share, and 2) it spares me the burden of original thought. Well, #2 has some truth to it, but #1 is the big deal for me.
Just curious, Craig — you mention John Locke, the philosopher not the television actor, but you don’t mention why he’s a powerful social media leader. Forgive me if I’m not up on my philosophers (or up on “Lost,” for that matter).
John Locke was one of a number of bloggers who helped create the tipping point toward the Glorious Revolution of 1688. I recall it’s “glorious” since it was much less bloody and shorter lived than other English civil wars.
That revolution is also known as the Twitter Revolution of 1688. (At least, that’s what I call it.)
Thomas Jefferson studied Locke’s work, as did other Founders. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is said to derive from Locke’s “Life, Liberty, and Estate.”
Larry, you may find this reading useful: