While several posts have emerged recently crediting Social Networks (Social Media) with Obama’s victory, I’d like to inject another element into the discussion – people, sociology, and the communities and tools that bind them, us, together.
Smart people intelligently and genuinely connected with other people to further a cause and a greater hope supreme. Social Media provided the channels to create, discover, inspire and share together…nothing less, nothing more.
I attended the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco and we were treated to something truly special. Al Gore closed the conference with a powerful, inspiring, and uniting keynote that earned two standing ovations and honorary residence in the hearts and minds of Silicon Valley’s catalysts for innovation and change.
The “recovering politician” is now a champion for climate change and the further democratization of information. He was as passionate as he was convincing.
He opened the session in response to the first of two standing ovations with a sense of humor, but also a reaffirmation of what brought us together dating back to his Presidential bid in 2000, “Wow, what a week,” he shared.
The room erupted into applause.“It couldn’t have happened without the world wide web, without the Internet,” Gore emphasized.
The Internet and more accurately, the Social Web, provided direct channels between a hopeful candidate with the hope and conviction for change and the people who so desperately needed it. The socialized mechanisms for collaboration and unity nurtured a dedicated coalition whose mission not only successfully elected the next President of the United States of America, but also engendered a global community that is bonding a world around #hope and #change.
Gore, Obama, these are men whom are incredibly and inherently visionary, passionate, and refreshingly human. They are also mirrors that reflect our ideas, beliefs, faith, optimism, and dreams. When Obama said that this was “our” victory, not his, during his now historical speech in Grant Park he recognized that we are one.
Al Gore captured this succinctly and brilliantly when he described the power of the Social Web as delivering and enabling, “the electrifying redemption of America’s revolutionary declaration that all human beings are created equal.”
“It would not have been possible without the additional empowerment of individuals to use knowledge as a source of power that has come with the Internet,” he proclaimed.
This election, as well as Gore’s passion for change, is the manifestation of decades of technological evolution. After all, this is about people. We witnessed the amalgamation of people, ideas, and the social technology that connected them and amplified their cause. This is an evolution, Gore believes, as do many of us, which was christened with the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press.
It is arguably, the onset of the true democratization of information. The Social Web is simply the advancement of a paramount foundation that synthesizes an individual voice with an interconnected distribution platform where it’s heard, shared and fused with like-minded people and the idea-driven and passion-fueled collectives they represent.
His vision for the Web is its sense of “purpose,” which is how we can take the evolution of not only the technology that defines it, but also the people who use it to communicate with one another.
“I believe Web 2.0 has to have a purpose,” Gore observed.
I agree, but would simply say that “The Web,” socially rooted, must have a purpose. It’s not just about promoting brands, marketing at people, raising money, or electing politicians using new mediums and shiny new objects.
It is our chance to contribute to our history and our future by investing a piece of ourselves into what we create, embrace, and release to the world.
Our work and purpose is far from realized however.
The fact that the “Web’s candidate of choice won this time is no reason to rest easy,” Gore reminded us.
The democratization of media requires constant innovation and cultivation. Only through education and experience can we create a more literate society that bonds through knowledge.
“Just as Barack Obama’s election would’ve been impossible without the new dialogue and new ways of interacting–the Web–the only way (climate change) is going to be solved is by addressing the democracy crisis, and the country hit a great blow for victory this week, but we have to take this issue and raise it in the awareness of everyone,” Gore emphatically stated.
When asked by conference organizers Tim O’Reilly and John Batelle if the new democracy of information was in danger of losing steam, Gore confidently responded, “I think that it is very much in its infancy, barely beginning, and I think that we are not many years away from television sort of sinking into the digital world and becoming a part of it.”
While still in its infancy, the Web is empowering us to contribute to the transformation and maturation of our society, civilization, and everything that governs the dynamics, rules, and relationships that weave them together.
Through socially connected platforms and communities, we now have access to our very own Gutenberg presses to publish, distribute, and bond our thoughts, ideas, facts, stories, and information with people all over the world. We no longer have to wait for the world to change, we are now part of the new democracy that defines its present and its future.
For more pictures from Al Gore’s presentation at Web 2.0 Summit, please visit my album on flickr.
Recommended Reading on PR 2.0:
– The State of Social Media 2008
– Reinventing Crisis Communications for the Social Web
– In the Social Web, We Are All Brand Managers
– The Essential Guide to Social Media
– The Social Media Manifesto
– PR 2.0: Putting the Public Back in Public Relations