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Power is an odd thing in today’s complex world. When it all boils down to it, you don’t really know who pulls the strings.
And power, particularly political power in this part of the world, is often an illusion.
Who really makes the decisions and calls the shots is such a contentious issue that it can inspire 100,000 people in Hong Kong to take to the streets and voice their anger at Beijing’s assertion of total power and control over the city.
It is also now widely believed that consumer power today is at its highest point ever.
Social networking has given consumers a platform to vent frustrations, complain about poor service, bad food, disrespectful citizens and pretty much any other grievance, like never before.
This belief has had politicians and brands in a tailspin ever since.
Social media and Facebook, in particular, was widely credited for the Arab Spring uprising and highlighted how powerful social media can be in rallying millions of people behind a cause.
But even now you have to be wondering about the power of social media to influence change, be it social, political, economic and emotional.
The more I read about Facebook’s “emotional manipulation” study the more I realise we are really just bit players in an evolving world where programmers, and it seems researchers, rule. Power in this instance is most definitely not with the user.
So what is power? At its simplest, it is the ability to do or act, but built into this are implications of influence, respect and control.
It will be interesting to watch the fallout from Facebook’s News Feed manipulation, but I suspect we will just keep using it without much of a worry or thought about why we see what we see.