19 August 2009
No shit: "the internet does not spread democracy"
"Social media and the internet do not spread democracy," claims a breathless piece in the Daily Telegraph. Only a fool ever thought that they would, thinks your friendly old Exile. What the web does is provide activists with a tool that can be used to help mobilise people, but that is about as far as it goes. If folk are not interested in the message, then all the fancy media in the world isn't going to get them moving.
Not only that, but the message has to travel in a way that reaches people easily. Expecting people in the third world to use Twitter, as the writer of this piece does, is a mistake of the first order. The simple truth is that whilst folk have adopted the mobile 'phone with gusto, the use of computers lags far behind that of the west.
Alas there are no subversive short cuts - if there were then someone would have twigged to them by now.