Earlier today, I was reading comments on Hacker News discussing the decline of traffic on Google Plus. When Google Plus launched, people (including myself) thought it would give Facebook a really though time considering it had many vital features missing from face book Facebook.
- An Easy way to filter and separate what you share and what is shared with you
- The One way follow. i.e you could accumulate a large following without the burden of having to accept them as ‘friends’ and in return get lots of ‘news’ polluting your feed
- The ability to distribute every type of item including text updates.
Rather than build up momentum on what they had started by updating features (linking the mobile Huddle to GTalk) and letting more people in, Google was more concerned about getting the real names of people and punishing people on Gmail for offenses committed on Google Plus.
While Google was busy doing that, Facebook was thinking of different ways to regain momentum. They released Messages, the Skype integration and I said ‘meh’. Yesterday, I heard they released a feature that allows you to subscribe to people. I was not too impressed because ‘unresponded’ friend request acted as subscription. And my settings is such that non-friends can comment on my status. So to me it was not a big deal.
Then I saw this.
Being able to re-share text is such a big deal that you will not understand its implication. In simple terms, your ‘witty words’ can spread far beyond you. That is the single thing that made Twitter VERY powerful. Making words go viral. The only difference is that unlike in Twitter and Google plus, you do not need to struggle to get a following.
So as it is, Gaddafi has a greater chance for a comeback than Google Plus. Difficult? yes. Impossible? No
Two things Facebook might do which will be ‘finishing moves’ (those that played mortal kombat will understand) to Twitter and Google Plus
- Create a dedicated app for sharing text only.
- Allow people to post updates that can be read without logging in.
But hey, it is rumored that the aim of Google plus is to force Facebook open. If that is the case, Google might be happy with Facebook’s ‘progress’
- To activate subscription on your profile, check the bottom of your profile picture. you can only see it on the web version on Facebook.
- The share button is not activated for everyone yet.
- Go ahead and see if you can see the subscribe button on the top right corner of my profile
- After this will there be a need for popular living individuals to have Fan pages?
Tl;dr: The NATO intervention was made possible by the UN mandate to protect civilians which was as a result of news broadcast by western media and Al Jazeera (Owned by Qatar who is part of the NATO coalition) and public opinion going against the Gaddafi regime.
As the war has carried on, it is clear (my opinion) that the media reports are one directional (Pro NATO/Rebels and Anti – Gaddafi). I am asking if the outcome would have been different had Gaddafi used social media (represented by Twitter in this post) to communicate directly to the world thereby bypassing traditional mass media houses who seem to be against him. Changing public opinion and maybe the war outcome in the process.
Now let me clarify one thing I do not think Twitter is the second coming of Jesus. Actually, this new line of reasoning came up when I was thinking of how my position on Gladwell was right (the Twitteratti did not claim victory in Gaddafi’s fall like they did in Egypt or Iran’s ‘almost revolution’.
Disclaimer: I am utterly opposed to the destruction of Libya(ns) and the UN endorsement and execution of a selective violent coup in search of ‘freedom’.
- Public opinion is an under estimated extremely powerful force in this world. Using public opinion, world leaders and organizations push their cause. If they do not succeed, they quietly fall into line with public opinion. (Once Mubarak was obviously falling, the US fell in line although they supported him). Maybe the WMD war in Iraq is a clearer example?
- The foreign press in this Libyan conflict has been at best a PR machine for the NATO–Rebel alliance.
- The passing of the UN resolution was driven mainly by *public opinion alert* “international outrage” which was created by news reports and unclear YouTube videos. Basically, it was based on “unconfirmed reports”.
- I am using Twitter to represent new (social) media (Facebook, Blogging, YouTube Google+?). In my opinion, Twitter is the most fluid when it comes to disseminating information and it is seen as a very important source of authentic news. Even Joey Barton’s Twitter account is worthy of a BBC editorial.
So how could Twitter have saved the day?
So let us imagine for a moment Gaddafi had a Twitter account:
- We would have known the correct spelling of his name (Yaaay!)
- He would have had over 1 million followers (potential re-broadcasters). Which would include EVERY major news source and opinion shaper in the world.
- Most importantly, he would have had a shot at getting his own word (spin/truth/propaganda) out which the major news network would have had no choice of reporting and reporting it accurately. When there is a public link to a source, it would be difficult to put any spin on it.
- What if the Gaddafi regime had it own YouTube clip of people in Benghazi asking to be saved from terrorists taking over Benghazi? Showing ‘proof’ that it was members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group that was behind the uprising?
- What if instead of ranting broadcasts which would be shown (translated) for about a minute, the Gaddafi’s wrote blogposts stating what was happening was no different from that in Bahrain and Yemen and did not need interference? Or anterior motives for the invasion.
- If Gaddafi had tweeted he was ready to step down and begin a transition immediately but NATO and colleagues adamantly refused?
- What of if Gaddafis Tweeted that mass murder scenes were orchestrated by the LFIG’s Tripoli Military Commander? Citing the random execution of blacks as reported by the guardian
- That 60 countries recognizing the rebels means over 100 countries do not.
- That NATO and co are killing Libyan soldiers and civilians in defensive positions.
These few points are some of the alternate views I see in comment threads and opinion columns. These alternate positions have failed become main stream news, as the mass media have taken a pro NATO-Rebel position.
But Gaddafi publicly stating (Blogging/Tweeting/Facebook Updating) these positions would FORCE the media to report them thereby bringing those views to the forefront.
I believe although this might not have changed public opinion, it would certainly have divided it. Maybe Russia and China would have been encouraged and used their veto powers to prevent the invasion or try to stop it now it has started.
Al Jazeera came to prominence during the earlier ‘War of Terror’ and the invasion of Iraq. It was seen as the station where you could watch and get the other perspective. However, this Libyan war the other side only means Qatar’s side. I was surprised for the first time, Al Jazeera sounded no different from CNN only to realize that Qatar was part of the alliance.
Lesson? Do not depend on any entity you do not have direct control of to speak your side of the story .
Two things going against that line of reasoning are
1. They do not have the audience size an official Gaddafi account would have.
2. More importantly would not have the credibility that information from an Official Gaddafi news source would have that would make it worth a news story.
So why did the Gaddafi regime not do all these?
I am guessing when you have been all powerful for 42 years, you tend to start believing you are a god of some sort. Other than that i have no idea,
What do you think?
Back in the days when facebook pages were still being ‘fanned’ and none of you knew what Twitter was, I had this little idea to create an Alumni based network for Nigerian institutions.
One use case was when looking for a lawyer, jobs, business partner, house etc, you could check easily via your alumni network. Only those officially involved with the various alums would be admins of the various institutions.
So I created some Facebook fan pages of top Nigerian Universities and secondary schools, bought the domain alumni.com.ng went to Warwick and realized I would not be running with the idea. However I was stuck with the pages.
What was I supposed to do with the pages?! I wanted to delete them but I had spent a bit of money promoting them (the good old days when FB advertising targeting Nigerians was cheap before the politicians messed it up). I also did not want to hand them over to some random chaps that would spam the followers.
I tried to contact PR companies that would contact the universities/schools and strike a deal with them to handle their pages but that did not work. I asked people I knew from various institutions and could trust but they did not wish to have them. I asked officials of UDSS alumni (Hello Udoka, Osaheni and co.) and they said they were not ‘ready’. So I put it on the back burner for a while.
Any time I see people asking questions like “when are the results coming out, when are we resuming, I feel bad I cannot answer the questions and it is not right administering theses pages if I am not being of use.
So I have come to the decision,
I will publicize this post to as many people as possible, if I do not see someone to hand it over to in the next one month, I will deactivate or delete them. At least people will not feel they are not being responded to,
Who do I want to hand it over to?
- Any official of the institution.
- Credible Alumni
- PR companies that could handle them on behalf of the Universities.
Let me now list the fan pages I control. Hold your exclamation until I am through. 😀
University of Benin (Attended)
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)
University of Lagos
Ahmadu Bello University
University of Ibadan
University of Nigeria
University of Portharcourt
King’s College Lagos (Attended)
Queen’s College Yaba-Lagos.
Nigerian Law School
Benson Idahosa University
ABTI-American University of Nigeria
Just because you attended any of the schools above does not mean I will hand it over to you. I have to ensure these pages do not get abused.
Universities have PR departments right?
If you are interested just contact me via ositanwoye@gmail. To be very clear, NO MONEY is required to take these pages. All that I need is proof you are an official or trustworthy enough to be in charge of this. I will put the contact of those that have taken over beside the fan pages.
This is probably not a big deal as there might be duplicate fan pages but these have the highest members for their various institutions.
See photo evidence below. The blurred out ones are not relevant here.
As a side note, I think facebook should start a verification badge system for people or institutions that want to control messages they send out. The cost of that can be placed on the page owners.