In 2011 we’ve watched the exhilarating ‘Arab Spring’ made possible in many ways by people communicating digitally through social media. When Mubarak got a hint that his days might be numbered, he sent the national army to surround the TV stations so he could control the people via media. But of course today, the people driving the revolution were using their phones with social networks to communicate. Which can’t be controlled by an army. And confirming in yet another way that he wasn’t a leader for this time or this country.
Although a Royal Wedding in Great Britain does not have the same significance as this year’s Arab Spring, maybe shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same post, but yesterday it captured the world’s attention and enthusiasm, spread globally and personally by social media. The adaptability of social media is nothing short of amazing. I watched the Royal Wedding on HD TV, while following it on Twitter and talking with friends at the same time. We laughed, we had misty eyes and we thoroughly enjoyed it all, enhanced by the connectivity. Iain Mackenzie of the BBC has done a nice recap of all the digital activity in William and Kate’s World Wide Wedding. And shortly after the wedding, you could download the entire service with all it’s stunning music from iTunes.
But not everyone had an interest in this event or in enhanced connectivity. In the UK, we have Republicans, not to be confused with the Sarah Palin American Republicans, who want to end the monarchy. And I love the fact that one of our main national newspapers, the Guardian Newspaper, has a button on their website which says ‘Republicans click here’ for a version of the site with no news on the wedding.
Digital gives us a choice and maybe that is the greatest gift of all.