Ed:Blog -- The 'Following' Day

Few statements about the power of social media could have been more impactful than the one made by the State Dept. to Twitter. The microblogging service was asked by U.S. government officials not to go down for maintenance as it had planned, because people protesting in Iran were relying on their tweets to inform the outside world of what was going on. Overnight, all of the arguments and silly rants about how Twitter was a vehicle for navel gazing and mundane reports, a cocktail party where everyone was shouting and nobody was listening, seemed to fall away. Evan Williams and Biz Stone could hardly have asked for a stronger endorsement if they paid for one (you didn't, did you, guys?)

Few statements, likewise, could make the constant calls for monetization seem more small and whiney. The unending choruses of "Monetize, monetize, monetize", "How will we monetize?" "Monetize this," "Monetize that" that ring a constant din at every industry event, lunch and dinner seem like the noise of so many ledger-toting bottom-line obsessed chipmunks.

The use the protesters in Iran found for Twitter (and Twitter itself is irrelevant -- we are taking about a technology here) exemplifies our greatest hope for media. It's what crowds chanting "The whole world is watching" in front of camera lenses at the '68 Democratic convention in Chicago meant. If something shows itself to be useful and powerful the money will come. This, at the risk of overstating the connection with bloodied Iranian protesters, is what democracy (and even capitalism) is about.

Without further ado, Ed:Blog humbly submits a proposal for a panel at the next big industry hoo-ha. The title is (and, please, just for a moment imagine Ed:Blog looks just like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction and is pointing a gun at you): Say 'Monetize' Again, Motherf--er.

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