BalloonBoy vs. limp DC use of social media
October 16th, 2009

Why is it that a helium hoax floating across Colorado caused a macro activity explosion on Twitter while a recent report shows . . . Most Big DC Orgs Aren’t Embracing Social Media Tools? There are also indications that the vaunted Obama campaign grassroots activism has been difficult for the elected OBH to bestir from his high office.

Micah L. Sifry analyzes the report about the Big DC Orgs, and links to it at Tech President. Ken Deutsch continues the analysis at Shifting the Debate, and ties in the activity of blogs — plus illustrates the trends on handsome charts.

The expectation of using social media tools to spark support from the top down is frustrated by the laws of networks. Or at least the power manipulators have not yet gotten very good at puppeting the nodes that make up networks by using strings above. BalloonBoy tweets were individual nodes either putting information in to the network, or dropping in their own observation or humor or prayers, until the little boy was found to be safe. During the summer’s Iran uprisings, Twitter carried the communication without top down strings — and, in fact, efforts from above the internode activity failed to slow down what was happening.

In July I wrote that: “the government sector may well be about to be knocked on its heels by the spontaneous stuff networks do, just as have other major sectors including commerce, entertainment, communication, and more.”

Mobs are smart. Maybe the Big DC Orgs know what they are doing.

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