Prior to the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the sharing of a message to the masses was almost exclusively reserved for those few who possessed the skills and education to put pen to paper or those who mastered the art of great oration. The advent of the printing press soon saw the power to move an audience to action gravitate to the media barons of print than onto the videographers of the 20th century. The arrival of the information age and digital communication technology ushered in a new era where news not only traveled at lights speed, but was carried virtually unfiltered to the masses through untraditional media outlets called the internet and a plethora of social media venues.
The power of social media has rapidly increased our access to breaking news and current events, and has created an efficient channel for marketers and consumers alike to promote and communicate their messages to specific audiences. More and more people now use social media as their core source for information. The social community is faster than traditional news outlets and allows the recipient the ability to respond personally to world events in real time. Social media and the internet is a powerful and viral media vehicle that is the major source for news, an effective way for marketers to engage consumers and everyday users to populate their message to the world.
But along with the many good attributes of the internet, and its technological companion social media, comes the bad and the ugly. The far and free reach of the internet is giving radical extremists the ability to connect to millions of disaffected and delusional with their message of hatred and destruction. With the assistance of skilled marketing techniques, new age Jihadists are recruiting an army of zealots to kill the innocent and create havoc and calamity on the worlds established societies. The recruiters of evil are able to connect with hard-core believers and sociopaths in their own living rooms utilizing graphic and violent, murderous videos. Ed Bridgeman, a criminal justice professor at the University of Cincinnati says of the recruiting efforts, “Among the differences today are the tools of the recruiter’s trade. The Internet is full of opportunities to share and package propaganda in ways never before possible.
”The recent acts of violence in Paris France was reported quickly through digital media; each ugly act of violence playing out in real time across the screens of laptops, iPads and smart phones all across the world. But while the atrocities of evil ruled in the immediate, a response to the tragedies prevailed through an outpouring of support for the victims and condemnation of the extremist. Soon the bad and ugly were countered by the mobilization of all those who are good among the technology and who tweeted, messaged and texted in solidarity against the atrocities of evil.