|Photo from What Culture|
While this would be welcomed by civil society or protest groups, it can cause some problems for companies and organizations who are still trying to get the hang of social media.
|Photo from engadget|
Ordinary people, however, seem to understand more fully just how radically digital media have changed the game. According to Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody new tools give life to new forms of action which challenge existing institutions by "eroding the institutional monopoly on large-scale coordination". Shirky notes that geographical location is no longer a hindrance to collaboration and organizations which saw geography as a core organizing principle are now facing challenges.
Importantly, like the writers mentioned above, Shirky stresses that social tools don't create collective action but simply remove obstacles to it. "Revolution doesn't happen when society adopts new technologies - it happens when society adopts new behaviours," he says.
For me this poses two main questions for PR practitioners: 1. How do we plan strategically for the collective action of consumers or publics when protests/boycotts can be organized so quickly via social media and 2. How do we get managers to relinquish some of their control in order to fully take advantage of new collaborative technologies?