Komen and Planned Parenthood: The Pace of Social Media Outrage
When The Susan G. Komen Foundation took the unexpected action of cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood, they triggered an event that represents the power and reach of our increasingly social communication. The discussion and actions spread so far in so short a time, it was truly astonishing.
People weighed in pro and con, with truth and falsehood, calmly and with vitriolic anger. They opened or closed their wallets; they voiced their passion. They formed new opinions, cemented long-held beliefs, or changed their minds entirely. They came together in a national--then global--discussion that was meaningful and productive.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, in his IPO letter, said:
"People sharing more ... creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others."
Whatever you believe about the issues involved, there's no doubt that the "social tsunami" led to both sides hearing a great deal about the perspectives of others.
This is a particularly transfixing example of the power of social tools, because the fallout will change lives. We can talk about the effects felt by Netflix and FedEx as a result of a social discussion, but women's health issues have consequences that far outweigh damage to a brand's reputation.
The events of this week have been a truly democratic and fascinating case study of how different we are as a society because of social channels and tools.
I sometimes think about the flu epidemic in the early part of the 20th century. The ramifications of the pandemic were known only in retrospect, because of the limitations of the communication methods of the time. Horses, telegraph, newspapers, radio, phone, television, computers. And now, the Internet is taking us to new capabilities--revolutionary capabilities.
Alyson directs content strategy on the Nimble team. She spent many years writing and editing at her own company, A Woman of Letters. An active volunteer in her small Massachusetts town, she serves as a Library Trustee and has spearheaded municipal building and renovation projects.When she has time, she tells personal stories on her blog, http://www.pilgrimssoul.blogspot.com/
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