Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Social Media: Overhyped or Underestimated?

From a column today on Bloomberg.com, by way of Harvard Business Review. Here's an excerpt; full link below:

Tweeting for Social Good in Davos
02:59 PM Monday February 01, 2010

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Global leaders are all a-twitter about Twitter. While they don't know whether to fear it or embrace it, they are running to catch up with the change triggered by Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

The power of technological change is one of the few points of agreement to emerge from the meetings of business, non-profit, and government leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Questions of how to revive economies, create jobs, regulate banks, deal with pandemics, reverse climate change, or close the gender gap are contentious, and action is often stalled. Meanwhile, technology marches briskly onward.

For nearly 20 years, the Internet has been hyped as giving more power to the people. Sometimes the hype is true. The latest wave of interactive networking tools provide platforms for making rapid progress on issues that people care about, while bypassing the need for top-down decision-making. This idea pervaded Davos 2010.