Introduction to Social Technology

When it comes to new online and mobile technologies, it’s important to get beyond the buzz. The World Wide Web has brought us a new communications paradigm. For the first time, there exists a mass communication channel that is decentralized, fragmented, self-distributed and highly specialized. Never before has a technological communications medium done more than just broadcast. More than a means to relay a message, it is a platform upon which to network, collaborate and co-create.

And this co-creation capability presents an even more compelling proposition. With the technology – and therefore the communication tools literally in the hands of billions of people, the institutions that have held the balance of information power for so long are being challenged. At Net Change Week 2010, Dr. Iqbal Quadir, Director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), spoke of the democratizing power of this new technology:

“Concentration of resources is connected to stagnation and social and economic degradation. Dispersion is connected to progress.”

Communications = information = decision-making capacity = democracy.

When it comes to social and mobile technology, the question is not whether we should be using it, but rather, how can we adopt it in a strategic way?  And how can social innovators use it to create greater impact?