Throughout the Social Good Summit, various panels and participants discussed social media and the impact it is having on the world today. Often social media is seen in positive light as a method of bringing individuals together to amplify action, educate people on new issues and build new networks at a cheaper transaction price. But for many, Syria represents a darker side of social media where its primary outcome is not bringing people together, but rather helps people bear witness to atrocities in the world’s most brutal conflict today.
Yesterday the Social Good Summit hosted a panel that looked at this darker side and both the good and the bad of social media in Syria. As David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee put it, the best way to understand Syria is all the modern historic atrocities rolled into one – the urban destruction of Dresden, the refugee flows of Afghanistan following the Soviet invasion, the gassing of civilians in Iran and Iraq, and in some places, urban sieges that bring to mind images of Sarajevo during the Bosnia War. However in Syria, unlike when these events occurred, there is social media which gives the outside world 24 hour access to intimate views of the atrocities. From YouTube videos to photographs and witness narratives on Facebook and Twitter, the Syrian conflict is both more open than any war before but also remains incredibly closed to traditional methods of information gathering.
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