This story started when Carruthers observed a growing number of Twitter users tweeting out locations of RIDE programs across Ontario in hopes of warning other citizens.
On an ethical note, I’m not in favour of this dubious act. I’ve always been of the mindset that it’s safer for all if law enforcement can do their duty.
Ethics aside, Twitter provides the perfect communications platform to perform such an exercise.
When you think about it, what other communications platform exists in which anyone can read communications created by citizens, quickly, on their mobile phones, and in real-time?
Even Facebook.com, is limited in that you can only read communications from your friends or mutual groups/pages you’re connected to.
Twitter, on the other hand, can connect a nation(s) through a simple #hashtag.
This isn’t the first time this problem has arisen.
Earlier this year, a Pakistani twitter user unknowingly tweeted out, minute-by-minute, the US military assassination attack on Osama Bin Ladin.
The Twitter user was tweeting out complaints about hearing a helicopter overhead. His tweets could have put the entire attack at risk, if only Bin Ladin’s guards were monitoring the social web.
Twitter and other forms of social media will continue to challenge the way our society, and especially law enforcement is setup.
Predictably, some opponents will try to pass laws that prohibit such actions. However, these exercises in law don’t come without their opposition or challenges either (think of all the issues Copyrighting enforcement advocates are having right now).
So ultimately, we come back to the question that seems to be coming up a lot these days:
Does society try to force people (sometimes through legal action) to behave in a pre-digital way, or is it the government’s job to evolve their own practices and actions to mold inside of our digitized civilization?
I certainly know the latter is more uncomfortable but democratically liberating than the former.
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Andrew Schiestel is the Chief of WOW! Projects at tbk Creative, a web design & social marketing agency that instigates and accelerates consumer action around brands. To contact Andrew about speaking at your upcoming web marketing & communications event, click here. Andrew can be followed on Twitter here.