Smartphones can be very dangerous! That phone that you have in your pocket has the power to explode in the face of dictators faces. With massive and unheard off computational powers, in-fact, enough power to guide heat seeking missiles of old, patriot missiles inter-continental ballistic missiles and all the weapons of yore had much much less powers that steered them.
With power hungry processors, like the Snapdragons, Qualcomms, Exynos Octa-cores! What can we say about smartphones… they are dangerous! They can explode in the face of iron fisted dictators.
From the stone age days, when our ancestors used fires to communicate, pigeons to send messages and drum beats to call meetings, the need for a mass communication media were there.
The world saw Morse Code, Radio, black and white televisions and all… the world was hungry for receiving communication both ways.
Hitler and his crack panzers military who blitzkrieged fast through Europe, shocking many in the way and the world at such speed relied on effective communication to coordinate their passage through Europe.
The stunning news of how Napoleon and his French forces trickled down nations that had been easily trampled by the statesman, sending waves of joy to the emancipated masses. Even news of his humiliation after he had to be escorted back to France by Russian forces, the very forces he was fighting cascaded to the common man on the street.
News of the juggernaut sea battle, the battle of Jutland, that massive water based shocking war sent tremors around the great powers as news of the heavy losses and sunken fleet reached the mainland.
Nowadays, in the days of point-and-click, the days of touch-and-tap, touch screens and qwerty keyboards, people are getting news fast, faster than the speed of lighting. News is travelling at light speeds.
People want, in fact, people demand news as they happen. Unlike olden days, when massive media companies curated the news to suit their side of the story, waited for set times to beam the news, now news easily flows social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instant Messenger apps like Whatsapp, Line, Viber and all.
Online newspapers that are slow in updating stories in real time find users defecting en-masse to more agile news websites.
Hosni Mubarak and Colonel Gaddafi found themselves face to face with combined power of phones and social media. They were toppled and deposed through the use of social media outlets. We read of how rioters coordinated via social media.
The US and UK had to temporarily close access to twitter when they were faced with rowdy protesters burning up buildings whilst they effectively co-ordinated and evaded the police.
With free access to social media, anyone can rally a group of people to support whatever ideology he/she has. Now that is what governments and leaders who have a bone to grind with their citizens have a tendency of systematically blocking access to these platforms.
North Korea and its strange dictator, China and it’s well known Great Firewall block access to free flow of information. They need to peep and glean into what you are communicating, lest you are planning to topple them.
Don’t think the USA and Europeans are clean, at least the Chinese do it overtly, the Americans also want to see what is cooking in your private communications. Under the guise of “intercepting terrorists before they strike” America was caught pants down with its shameless PRISM exposed by Snowden.
With Zimbabwe facing a do or die election people have turned to social media to get updates for the events happening. Stories fly thick and furious across the nets, with accusations and counter accusations. Campaigns and de-campaigns!
People are not going to wait for ZBC to manicure news for them but will push news to their relatives in real time.
In Zimbabwe, in 2008 elections we had to wait for the state media to give us tit-bits of information since we were reeling from sub-zero poverty. We hardly knew what Facebook or whatsapp was!
Now that upwards of four million Zimbabweans have access to the internet, politicians have taken to social media, the news platform that regulates itself.
The social media can make or break a person. Look at Maneta and Roqui! What started as a small squabble on Big Brother Africa spilled onto the social media until Maneta had to “sneak” into the country for fear that Roqui’s fans will pounce and tear her to shreds.
With the help of Facebook, we had a glimpse of the moans of Pokello and Stunner’s shaft after the video spilled onto the social network. People had a field day sending the sex-tape to anyone who cared to watch.
Its really good that we have social media, at least the propagation of information is no longer a one way affair. We are now all journalists. From Ushahidi in Kenya, to people uploading photo’s of the fights in the street, the social media is a tool that no one can expect to escape the tentacles of social media.