Twitter and the First Amendment

failwhaleposter
Here lies Dobby ...

Apparently, 2011 is the year when Twitter, Facebook, and smartphone videos are graduating from Social Networking toys to evolutionary, revolutionary Sociology tools. Can they be controlled by governments or big business? It’s been argued that any such controls might run afoul of Amendment No. 1 from our Bill of Rights … how amazing for a clever hack that originated in a daylong brainstorming session.

Freedom of Speech, Assembly, and the Press

What is a tweet? 140 characters – one or two sentences. (Feel the need to shout? Use capital letters)

What is a Twitter account but a three dimensional megaphone? Where Speech used to be spoken and printed, but ephemeral and land locked, we now have written and permanent, multi-lingual, globally available, and permanently, stubbornly, indeliby saved for repeated viewing.

And what is a twitter #hashtag but a thread to connect one or more people into a continuous stream of sentences. A conversation. A “flash mob”. An Assembly.

What happens when blog authors are accused of being less-than-professional journalists? Well, they’ve already been granted the title, now we’re negotiating

WIIFM?

I don’t know, I just like noticing the arc of the storyline for these Internet innovations. Who would have thought that something starting out as a “short burst of inconsequential information” …

… would morph into a haven for publicity hounds and the traffic-obsessed

… and continue to evolve as a facilitator of planned group meetings

… to something that was an instigator and planner of, well, really big group meetings?

The framers would have loved Twitter and Facebook, and how they evolved into the new tools for political and social change. Thank goodness creative and imaginative folks started playing around with them.

So what interesting, different, and strange technology have you tried to apply to your business today? Hopefully something that you have no idea how it might possibly be applicable to the [business] world that you know.

You might find that it takes you in a direction you never thought possible.

(with thanks to Harry and the Whale …)

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.