A Guest Column by Denise Tamir, Esq.
Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and Family Mediator
So here I am a middle aged attorney and mediator, racking my brains to find ways to use social media to market and expand my practice. Until recently, it seemed a nobler endeavor than say, showing the world my latest vacation pics or posting my daily musings about politics and society’s frustrations. That was until the true power of the new social media became apparent to the world in the overthrow of a Tunisian dictator who ruled with an iron fist, and now, the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt after a 30 year rule; two revolutions that would not have been possible without Twitter and Facebook.
Frankly, it was my then college freshman daughter who first told me about the role of Twitter and Facebook as a new form of journalism following the Iranian election protests last year. She wrote a brilliant English paper, the premise of which was that just as a democracy requires a free press, dictatorships require complete control of the press and media; and in an age when cell phones make any man on the street a potential reporter, dictatorships will find it increasingly difficult to maintain power with loss of control of the “press” through the social media revolution.
But even she didn’t foresee the degree to which social media could first rally the average citizen to active engagement, then help dissidents coordinate the location and logistics of protests, and finally, show the world the graphic images of violent protest despite the government’s best efforts. Clearly, the reaction of the Iranian, Tunisian, and now Egyptian governments in shutting down the internet and cell phone service demonstrates how big a role social media played in these revolutions.
In retrospect, I marvel at my daughter’s insight to recognize the power of a media that most view as frivolous and mundane. I am also humbled by the courage of young techno savvy protestors from Iran to Egypt who not only have an exceptional understanding of the technologies at their disposal, but also the courage and intellect to use them for a much greater national purpose. And here I sit wondering if I am brigt enough, or have enough grit to set up my first business blog!
I am sure inspiring a middle aged attorney/mediator to take risks and put her voice out there on the internet was the farthest thing from their minds as protestors took to the streets in Tunisia and Egypt, but what excuse could possibly remain to keep any of us from using Facebook and Twitter in more constructive ways than sharing the minutia of our mundane lives with the world.
About the Author:
Denise Tamir is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and Family Mediator with The Divorce Mediation Center of South Florida, a group of caring professionals who guide couples through the confusing and emotionally charged divorce process in an atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity. Contact her at 305.542.4508 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website www.thefairdivorce.com.