Do no rub ur eyes.
Those were the instructions tweeted to Egyptian protesters when the tear gas began to fly.
The revolution in Egypt may have been coming for years. The courage, anger, and enthusiasm for change may have been growing for months.
But it was social media that tipped the scales to action.
According to Mona Seif, a graduate student & activist in Cairo, the messages came slowly. The tweets, the invitations, the status updates. They weren’t planning a revolution but the momentum of digital networks turned their ideas into full-fledged, massive-scale action.
Person to person, hope to hope – spreading.
Of course, the internet was shut down quickly after the revolution began. Many analysts have since discredited the power of social media for inciting this revolution. But that’s just the point! Social media is not confined to tweets and status updates – social media is the connecting fiber that run through us all.
Digital social media is like a bit of cotton in a tinder box. Create a spark and you’ve got yourself a little fire. Add kindling, sticks, branches, and you’ve got a bigger fire. The cotton may be enveloped in flame but there would be no fire without it.
We’ll take care of our readers and let the bestseller list take care of itself.
— Seth Godin, The Domino Project
Political revolution – done well – is staggering, breath-taking work. While we may be far from the streets of Cairo, there is another revolution going on much closer to home.
Slowly, but ever-so-surely, there is an economic revolution taking place in America’s main streets, digital store fronts, and vegan leather wallets. We are rediscovering the value in our own work & in the work of others.
Consumers are buying directly from those who make & create. They are choosing mom & pop over square footage at a distribution center. And again, social media leads the way.
Seth Godin, a pioneer in new paradigm marketing and an advocate for all sorts of artists, declared that he was done with traditional publishing a few months back. No more pandering to agents or editors. No more dealing with broken supply chains and apathetic retailers.
He would take his message directly to the people in the form of The Domino Project.
He’s partnered with Amazon – a pairing of a single voice & a behemoth of industry that actually works – to produce paper books & digital books that say what he wants to say in the manner he wants to say it. What this means for publishing is nothing short of revolutionary.
I’m thrilled (and humbled) to be a part of this publishing revolution both with my own ventures and as a member of a 65-person Domino Project street team. So you’ll probably be hearing more about this from me soon…
Want to know what going small can do? Godin’s first book published through The Domino Project, Poke the Box, broke into the top 50 books on Amazon without even being announced on his ridiculously popular blog. It spread, through tweets & mentions, through individuals creating mass action.
So what does the handmade movement have to learn from this?
There is great power in the simple communications between individuals. There is a great voice being heard over wires & pixels.
Our tools are the same tools that revolutionaries use. Use them.
Fan the flames with your tweets & status updates & invitations. Where the digital ends, connect with the people in your community. Find those who believe in the same things as you and create waves of action.
Social media gives the handmade movement an equal playing field. It gives it a conduit to create change. But the ideas, the action, and the fire have to come from within. And that means you!