The internet is truly a powerful beast. It has endless opportunities and in some cases endless risks. The internet is powerful purely because of the people (users) behind it and it’s this mass of people growing at amazing rates every day that is fueling the social network phenomenon.
The Internet also has its challenges…
Right at this moment there is a cyber war at play between WikiLeaks and a consortium of companies refusing service (and not to mention countless Governments of the world!) which all started over the well publicized United States diplomatic cables leaks. I’m not even going to get into that subject!
Most recently the WikiLeaks website was under attack which lead to the WikiLeaks domain host, EveryDNS, pulling the plug on their service.
But today the battle has has taken a whole new turn. A group of hackers (reportedly in their thousands) attacked the Mastercard.com website on-mass with coordinated DDOS attacks. At the time of writing this entry Mastercard.com is still down.
I should also note the attacks don’t seem to affect the use of a Mastercard or online retailing.
Bloggers are reporting over 1,200 people (hackers) coordinating in an IRC channel alone.
It would be fair to say most of these people were strangers before this event (and really, still are!) however because of the connecting possibilities of the web they joined forces at lightning speed and sped into action.
But is it all bad? Of course not! There are thousands of examples of where ‘the mass of the people’ behind the Internet deliver positive outcomes.
Kristine Shreve, blogger of DecQuorum at Stitches.com, highlights in her article “The True Value of Social Networking” a positive experience as a result of social networking and connectivity of the web.
As Kristine explains:
I was checking e-mails and Tweets on my cell phone when I received a direct message from Rodney at T-shirt Forums. Rodney is a friend of EnMart [where Kristine is Director of Marketing], we are a sponsor of his forum, and we write for him occasionally, so I thought the message might be about that. Instead, I opened the DM to read that someone in Orlando had just let him know that the EnMart booth had fallen over.
While a small example this is a great example of a positive outcome as a result of the people behind the Internet.
Kristine finishes up with a pretty good summary:
I think, sometimes, people get caught up in the number of fans and followers, or the number of retweets or how many sales result from a post, and don’t remember that the first word in social media is social. Facebook and Twitter, forums and blogs, allow us to connect with each other, to form relationships that exist even though we may be thousands of miles apart. It isn’t all about making the numbers or moving the product, social media is also about creating connections that will stretch from Orlando, where a booth fell over, to Michigan, where a peeved Director of Marketing is sitting in her dead car in the heat waiting for a tow.
… seemingly Kristine’s car broke down on a hot Wednesday evening – yuk! You’ll get the whole story here and its well worth a read.
The Internet is a big place with big opportunities but it’s all about the people and how you engage and get involved with the people whether it’s through blogging, Facebook, Twitter or countless other channels. I only recommend you aim for positive outcomes and stay well away from the other stuff! 🙂