I received a nice gift in the mail today, and that was the gift of my book for social media class entitled Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. For starters, I’d like to say this book has the brightest cover I’ve ever seen. It's cool. And the fact that this book has ‘winning’ in the title is ironic to me at this time when everyone is about Charlie and saying, "winning!" Enough about the sweet cover and title, let’s get down to my critical analysis of what I found interesting in this week’s reading.
Groundswell pointed out something that I just recently realized about social media: “people on the Internet showed they were in charge.” This is so true. People are free to create their own blogs and write about whatever they feel like. Facebook and Twitter users can post their status updates as whatever they want, whether it’s exposing someone’s deepest darkest secret to millions of people or leaking undisclosed information, such as the story of the HD-DVD Processing Key being released on the Internet. At the end of the day, over 3,000 blogs mentioned this number, which was the encryption for the new high-definition DVD format and with appropriate skill, people could make copies of ‘uncopyable’ DVDs.
Groundswell also brought up the point that the Internet allows people to draw strength from each other. For example, most bloggers who posted this prohibited key number didn’t even know each other; they didn’t plan to form some secret society to take down the movie industry. However, bloggers overpowered the entire movie industry and all its legal tools. Blogs have the power to allow people across the world to connect to each other and promote similar interests. The Internet is now fully integrated into all elements of business and society.
Going along with the movie industry, another story that struck me as very interesting was the Snakes on a Plane situation. New Line Cinema planned to complete the movie and release it in 2006, but word got out, fan sites spread and it then belonged to the Internet. Before long, Snakes on a Blog became the focal point for fan activity, with 8,360 other blogs and Web sites linked to it. Fans insisted that the movie include a particular line in the movie for Samuel L. Jackson. This line went something like, “I have had it with these m-fing snakes on this m-fing plane.” It's funny to me, but maybe not to New Line, who had to court to these hardcore fans to succeed, so they changed the movie, added the line and lost the film’s PG-13 rating.
Oh, the power of the blogs and the Internet in general can never be underestimated.