Would you follow Anne Frank?

Thanks to Twitter, YouTube and other social media around these days, we read the messages and watch the images from what seems to be increasingly dangerous streets of Iran. These are raw, unedited fragments of human reality, taken just a few seconds before we can see them. We often pass these on to others. There are no gatekeepers – just real people caught in the rip of history.

Do you know the story of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager caught in the horrible rip of history called World War 2? Have you ever wondered what would happen if Twitter was around then and you could receive her updates? Would you pass on (or ‘retweet’ in Twitter lingo – RT) her most thoughtful, most dramatic tweets on. What if she (not some boring pop star) had 1 million followers? All passing on her messages?

“Jazzalujah” (don’t know his real name) is 21, lives in the US and he wonders just that. And thanks to him and the post on the Lost Liberty Cafe, you may (again) think about the human potential of social media to – change the course of history.

Need more examples of ‘what if?’

How about soldiers or civilians sending updates during the Vietnam War? What would that do to the public opinion? Would the madman Kim Jong Il of North Korea be so daringly and dangerously powerful if millions could photograph the starving children in his country and send the pictures around the world? Would the Berlin Wall have fallen any earlier if STASI couldn’t block a thing called Twitter? Of course, you can add a few of your own…

Think about these every time someone tells you social media is a “complete waste of time”. It can be. It can also be a beacon of humanity like we have never had in history.

PS Please note that Anne Frank I refer to above was a real person who died in Auschwitz in 1944. She is not the ‘Anne Frank’ on Twitter, who bears the photo of the real Anne Frank and updates her status regulalry.

10 comments

  1. Andrew

    I suspect Anne Frank would have been found by the Nazis a whole lot sooner than she was if she had been broadcasting her thoughts to all and sundry on twitter.

  2. Tomaz Lasic

    Of course, the thought did occur to me Andrew.

    I don’t JUST ask to imagine her hiding for which she is mostly known for. I ask for a leap of imagination here really…

    What if there were thousands of AF? Millions? Could you shut them all down?

    Look what is happening in Iran? Authorities are surely following them on Twitter too. But plug one hole and the next appears to beam what is happening on the ground.

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Tomaz

  3. v

    i agree twitter can help bring us closer. it will open our hearts more, and that will also require us to be compassionate and thoughtful about how we respond to events. tv images did something similar, but people develop ‘compassion fatigue’. we all need to have a code of action based on moral duty, which is in effect regardless of a momentary emotion, not just a quick emotional reaction. i’m not there yet, but i see the path i should take.

  4. Tomaz Lasic

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment ‘V’. I have argued for many years about the ‘value neutrality’ of technology. Twitter, in this case, could be turned into a divisive force of oppression too, or indeed, as you point out, something that we simply grow tired of. How many times have we seen the starving children of Africa yet they are still starving?

    In this case I merely raise the possibility, an ‘imagine’. The rest if up to people and the representatives they (hopefully?) elect. And those sometimes ain’t that benevolent either.

    Twitter is the latest water cooler of humanity. Whatever breaks barriers and gets us talking – I support.

    Thank you kindly for your comment

    Tomaz Lasic

  5. Tomaz Lasic

    Ah, rain welcome, no parade 🙂 I am very aware of China shutting things down (I actually link to a very similar story in one of my earlier posts).

    First thing that any (overly) oppressive regime does is it controls information – history has shown that time & time again. Information alone cannot move the people. But it has a much better chance than no information or solely ‘piped’ information. I come from a country where that had largely been the case for decades (not Australia).

    And humanity, for all its flaws, cruel rulers (elected or otherwise) is the only thing I believe in.

    Thanks again V, appreciate your time & counsel.

  6. v

    tomaz, what country are you originally from? i’m going to guess poland, but i’m going to further guess that you moved to australia before the age of 10. so i will also guess that if you are 30 to 40 years old, that you were born around 1970 to 1980, which means that you lived under communism for around 10 years or less. is this correct? however, putting poland into your blog search does nothing, and i can’t believe you wouldn’t blog about something like that, so i may be totally off.

  7. v

    oops! should have used my security software first- dangit! it’s slovenia!

  8. Rob Champion

    ………Day 234: Stayed inside, Day 235: Stayed inside, Day 236: Stayed inside………..Day 541: Wait did I hear German?” @ends@

    @rob 🙂 There’s more to Anne than just hiding too.

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