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What are the limits of social media?

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Social Media

In retrospect, Evgeny Morozov’s piece on social media and repressive regimes shouldn’t have been that shocking. Every other kind of media, from print to television, has been used to reinforce tyranny at some point. But social media were supposed to be different — subverting systems, freeing information and redistributing power.

Morozov’s article points out that in too many countries, the government still has the ability to take control of the infrastructure that social media needs to thrive. Without open Web access, social networks run the risk of becoming printing presses without paper.

That got me thinking about the other limits to the influence of social media: privacy worries, intellectual property concerns, workplace regulations and the digital divide, just to name a few. While there isn’t much most of us outside of Iran can do about that country’s Web policies, we do have the power to address these other issues through advocacy, entrepreneurship and personal choice.

What other limitations do social media face? What are you doing to address these issues? Who are the social-media heroes working to improve access to social technologies?

Image credit, koun, via iStock