Circos Brand Karma

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The Goodness in Social Media

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Happy Lunar New Year to everyone and a belated Happy 2011!  It’s been a hectic few months wrapping up the end of last year and starting this year.  We’re looking forward to an exciting year ahead for us and are planning quite a few things to delight you.

Recently, I’ve been inspired by the goodness in social media.  I know that social media has a dark side.  Some of the most egregious examples we saw towards the end of 2010 were WikiLeaks, which put diplomats in danger, and Facebook used both as a channel to cry for help as well as a platform for bullying which then led to teen suicides.  On the business front it seems as though social media moved from the break room into the board room, as many people told us that their CEO/Board lost patience with their brand’s slow progress in social media and demanded a solution for 2011.  There were also the brands that got skewered with a not well-thought out social strategy and were left wondering what they should do next.  Finally, even though I loved the movie The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg should win the Academy Award for his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg), the movie set a dark tone on the people that helped to usher in the age of social media.  The question Siew-Hoon Yeoh asked at Web in Travel in 2009 became all the more relevant: “How do you tame the social media beast?

But the recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen tells me that social media is a beast if you don’t respect the people.  In the same vain as #IranElections, social media was instrumental in driving out an unpopular ruler in Tunisia and will probably expedite the departure of Mubarak in Egypt.  Most news stories have covered how social media is used as a communications tool to help protesters organize themselves, but there is an incredible story behind how this all started in Egypt that I think shows the incredible humanity in social media.

Khaled Said was a 28-year old Egyptian businessman brutally beaten to death by 2 plainclothes policemen in Alexandria last June because he was suspected of having a video of Egyptian police officers with illegal drugs.  Unlike other nameless victims, within 5 days of his death an anonymous person created a Facebook page — We Are All Khaled Said (English version here) — that posted cellphone photos from the morgue of his battered face and YouTube videos of him in happier times to contrast his brutal end.  By mid-June over 130,000 people had joined the page, and today, with over 600,000 users, it invited users to join the revolution on January 25 and has helped to spread word about demonstrations in Egypt.  You can read the full New York Times article here, but here’s an excerpt that made this very compelling for me:

What made this case different is that Khaled Said was just an ordinary person,” said Gamal Eid, 47, a lawyer and executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information in Cairo. “He was just a guy who found evidence of corruption and he published it. Then when people learned what happened to him, when people saw pictures of his face, people got very angry.”

February 23 (the last Wednesday of February in 2011) is Anti-Bullying Day in British Columbia, Canada.  This day started in 2008 as a result of outrage over a bullying incident in Nova Scotia.  In preparation for this day, 2 elementary schools did a flash mob to Bruno Mars’ song, “Just the Way You Are” and uploaded the video onto YouTube.

Please pass it along and contribute to the goodness in social media.


One Response

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steven Gong and Simrat Sawhney, Morris Sim. Morris Sim said: The goodness in social media: #egypt #socialmedia #bullying […]

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