Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Social Media and Genocide

According to a poll completed recently by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 94 percent of Americans think genocide is a concern and that it could occur today.

Clearly we haven't come very far since the Holocaust, let alone Sudan or Rwanda. That poll finding makes me sad but also makes me wonder why we don't have more faith in ourselves and mankind.

The study's findings were announced, evidently, as Hilary Clinton spoke at the USHMM about how social media could be the answer in genocide prevention. According to one Zimbabwean, more than 70 percent of Africans own cellphones, and 60 percent of those who have cellphones use them for social media.

My question is: How do you prevent genocide by Tweeting about it? Or by Facebooking it? Or even by posting a video on YouTube (where, as another recent study -- this one by Pew -- found that a majority of people turn to the video service for news updates)?

After all, some of the most heinous crimes go on behind closed doors or are hard to spot.

What do you think: Do our new-fangled devices and Social Media have the power to squash a fear that appears to be very real and very alive in the minds of Americans today?