Whether we like it or not, social networking will become part of our lives as it already has with 70 percent of the people around the world who are connected to the Internet and are part of different global community networks.
Dr Soumitra Dutta, the man behind Web 2.0, which revolutionises social networking on the Internet, dwelt on this in his talk on Sunday night at the W Hotel.
The Supreme Council of Information and Technology Qatar (ictQatar) hosted the forum to launch the ConnectedSpeakers series, a programme aimed at keeping people in Qatar updated about modern trends in ICT.
Calling the social networking trend a “generational shift”, Dutta said the emergence of websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others is a global phenomenon that “has affected the world around us” and created a new set of values.
He said Facebook had reached 150 million users by January and its use was growing at the rate of at least one million people a day.
Dutta, a professor at top global business school INSEAD and a fellow of World Economic Forum, said disaggregating identities, democratized status and diffused power were the three main reasons social networking had changed the way people live and interact.
He said through Web 2.0 or social networking, corporations and government were now considering a democratised style of management based on their employees’ knowledge, expertise and performance.
The IT expert also noted the emergence of citizen journalism as a result of social networking.
“Power has been diffused and decentralized to the edges. It was pushed down and flattened so that citizen and amateurs themselves became active partners in opinion and decision making”, Dutta said.
He cited the rise to power of US President Barack Obama, a virtually unknown senator four to five years ago, who used social networking as a vehicle to connect to millions of voters during the preliminaries and campaign. He said the Obama campaign only produced 4,000 videos, but his supporters generated more than 400,000, including the famous “Yes, We Can” video.
“Power is shifting for better or worse, but it will help us to brand better, engage widely, learn faster and lead effectively”, Dutta concluded.
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