A friend who is a social media strategist had no idea the firestorm he was about to ignite in my imagination when he handed me a copy of Barack 2.0: Social Media Lessons for Business. Authors Brent Leary and David Bullock have created a manual for effectively developing and implementing a social media campaign drawing insights from the historic election of President Barack Obama. Not only did it serve as a primer for understanding social media strategies that could be applied in my own life as a business executive and as an educator, it also provoked me to consider other possibilities. For instance, could social media provide resources leading to a better way for America’s citizenry to govern and be governed?
Leary and Bullock make a compelling case that the way we elect our governing officials has forever been changed because of how Barack Obama conducted his highly successful Presidential campaign. I would go even further and say that social media is going to play an even bigger role in the not-to-distant future. Whether Democrat or Republican, one thing is certain: Americans want change. Americans, at least the ones I am in contact with, are chiefly concerned with two things: They want a better education system for their children and an improved economic system for themselves. And they have placed their faith in a government that seems inadequate to satisfy on either issue.
Einstein once said the level of thinking responsible for creating your problems will never be able to solve them. Social media allows us to ascend to a level of thinking that is unprecedented in history. Social media allows us to share knowledge openly without boundaries. Social media allows the best and the brightest to collectively collaborate on solving the problems that pose the greatest threat to our freedom and to our welfare. We now possess resources that allow an amazing degree of knowledge exchange and collaboration. Social media has provided us a set of tools promoting a level of innovation the likes of which the world has never seen. A true renaissance of human potential is now possible above and beyond anything we’ve ever hoped or dreamed of.
Is it possible that social media could affect the single greatest shift in our national identity since the American Revolution of 1776? Our forefathers suffered under a yoke of oppression and sought to form an independent government that was based on a single principle: Liberty and justice for all. They did well. They created a system of government that was “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Social media provides the citizens of our great country the ability to participate in their government like never before. We have before us a great opportunity to produce conversational currency.
An economist might say that conversational currency is created by leveraging social capital into a value proposition that generates an exchange of goods or services. An educator might say that conversational currency is produced from the convergence of knowledge, collaboration and innovation. How ever you put it one thing is certain: Social media is the catalyst for the flow of conversational currency.
A recent President once challenged us to “ask not what your country can do for you; rather, ask what you can do for your country.” It was an appropriate challenge then; it is an even more fitting challenge today. Speak up, Americans. Your voice is louder and clearer than ever before.