THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

John Brown Headshot

Remember When Social Media Was the Solution to All Our Global Problems?

Posted: Updated:

Cyber-utopians proclaimed that the "Arab Spring" could not have occurred without Facebook/Twitter. Iran youth was "Western" because it used social media.

Oh-so-publicity-conscious Jared Cohen and Alec Ross, former State Department politically-appointed apostles of how virtual communications would free the world, are now both off the MSM radar screen and in the "private sector" -- I hope for them making big bucks.

But instead of universal love and peace -- or should I say, to be politically correct, democracy -- we now see social media being used in the most Hobbesian/Darwinian sense -- survival of fittest -- by states, including our very own United States of America.

Just take a look at the bitter, crude exchanges between the State Department and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (documented in recent issues of the Public Diplomacy Press and Bog Review).

I forgot to mention: "ridiculous" exchanges.

The historical pattern is a long one: The state takes the new media over to push its propaganda, with movies in WWI, radio in WWII, TV/videos in the Cold War, email right after the Cold War, new social media in our century.

Nothing is ever quite new under the sun.