Social Networks: The Powerful Voice of the People
The twenty-first century has been welcomed as the Age of Networks. Throughout history, counting thousands of years of hierarchical rule of established leaders, the real power has resided in networks of people and their ability to bring on change. As Niall Ferguson aptly described in his book, The Square and the Tower, “from the cults of ancient Rome to the dynasties of the Renaissance, from the founding fathers to Facebook…it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread.”
In the mid-1400s, Johannes Gutenberg first introduced his printing press, and soon thereafter, many European cities had adopted printing. While not digital or instantaneously global reaching like today’s social networks, the printing press can be seen as one of the most important mediums in the dissemination of public opinions and catalysts for social movements. With the printing press came a powerful mechanism for public critiques of corrupt practices and cries for societal reformation.
“…it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread.”
Similar to the advent of the printing press, the white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto published in October 2008, was not just a plan for a tamper-proof, decentralized peer-to-peer electronic cash system but a revolutionary social movement that called for a paradigm shift away from hierarchical manipulation of and interference in economic forces. Pioneers of the crypto movement such as Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum), Charlie Lee (Litecoin), Elizabeth Stark (Lightning) and Da Hongfei (NEO) called for wide-sweeping changes and were visionaries in the building of alternative solutions that formed the foundation for a new financial system. Whereas most governments and business leaders first considered cryptocurrency and blockchain a threat to their power, more and more are starting to embrace the immense power and potential opportunities thanks to the collective voice of this powerful social movement now 11 years old.
As I woke up in the morning on June 2, 2020, and noticed the unified global social movement of #blackouttuesday, I was heartened by the thought of how impactful and far-reaching this message that resonates with so many people can be when broadcasting across social networks. While a blackout screen appears on the surface to be simplistic, the impact of its unifying ability, through social media, to convey the underlying message, that black lives matter and social injustice will not be tolerated, is much more complex and impactful.
Think about how powerful this modern-day printing press called social media is when by lunch, Kylie Jenner alone had over 2 million likes from her 179 million followers while others with large followings like The Rock (185M), Beyonce (113M), Katy Perry (98M), Ellen DeGeneres (90M), and many others used their social media platform to disseminate a similar message.
“To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men.”
- Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln once said, “to sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men.” While we at Shyft Network, unfortunately, do not yet have millions of followers to influence, we, like our ancestors before us who used the power of networks to ignite calls for reformation, will not stay silent while social injustice and racial discrimination plague society. So that is why on June 2nd, 2020, united we stood and proudly we showed our support for the social movement of #blackouttuesday with millions of voices from around the world demanding change.
This piece was written by Bruce Silcoff - Head of Enterprise and Global Initiatives, Shyft Network
Shyft Network aggregates trust and contextualizes data to build an authentic reputation, identity, and creditability framework for individuals and enterprises.