Can Social Networks Stop War?
It is clear social media can start wars and revolutions.
“Recent events show us that the public sense of shared grievance and potential for change can develop rapidly,” says Howard. “These dictators for a long time had many political enemies, but they were fragmented. So opponents used social media to identify goals, build solidarity, and organize demonstrations.”
The more interesting question is can it stop them. The world is filled with flash points and i am still predicting the relatively imminent fall of Assad in Syria.
But the place where things might just be hottest is between nuclear weapons equipped Israel and nuclear power constructing Iran.
As is the nature of social media, the Israeli users are trying things they think might work to help avert a preemptive (or other) strike against Iran. The above picture has sprung from one of the more successful Facebook memes. The Peace Factory is the print propaganda branch which does some attractive work including this picture below in mural form.
Israel Loves Iran claims that they are reaching 2 million people with social media, within 6 months of being launched. But do these clicks matter?
What we know from the Arab Spring is that people can overthrew dictators by learning how to communicate about demonstration and strategies using Facebook and Twitter (and local analogs). But how can you convert this sentiment into action?. Israel for it’s many faults is a democracy, democracies are structurally harder to over throw than totalitarian states. Israel has a completely legitimate concern about an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Every nuclear weapons state as started with a civil nuclear power program first and many of them have directed materials from these programs to build nuclear weapons. The current Iranian leadership has threatened to destroy the country. Does this apology affect that?
[I am sure there is a similar one for Iran, i am just not finding it easily]
i start from a fundamentally skeptical place about this, i dont think the social media is a lever for peace between Israel and Iran, the way it has been on for removing other corrupt regimes. I think social media is in this sense a lazy activists tool. I think you need to go out and meet and mingle and merge lives with people from the culture you might invade. You need lots of pot lucks and border crossings. You need to intermarry and build physical cultural exchanges. And this is far more difficult work. And these ambitious Peace Factory kids might just pull some of that off as well.
[i would be disappointed if i did not get comments on this post from ex-Oaker Woty and ex Visitor Anat and prospective Chubby Squirrel Beatrice]