Social Media is The Fifth Estate (Err, Duh)

January 20 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Government   Year: 2009   Rating: 2

How long before President Barack Obama refers to social media as the Fifth Estate?

When I sat down to write this timely piece about the role of social media in government I was hopeful that by calling it "The Fifth Estate" I was about to be somewhat clever and original.  Sheesh, was I wrong.  A quick search revealed that many bloggers and pundits have in fact been calling social media The Fifth Estate for a while now:

Search Results for The Fifthe Estate

There are in fact hundreds, if not thousands, of references to social media as The Fifth Estate that go back many, many years.

This of course has once again got me thinking that 1) there is truly no such thing as an original idea, especially on a planet inhabited by billions of meme processors all hooked into one global web, and 2) as innocuous as it may seem to us at any given moment, social media is truly a breakthrough phenomenon that is absolutely critical to convergent acceleration.

In light of today's Presidential inauguration, Obama's reliance on social media and commitment to conversational governernment, the launch of the brand new White House Blog and the impending death of old media that fails to embrace new technology, my belief in the power of social media to transform government, economics and human behavior burns as brightly as ever. 

With the public and new administration so cognizant of the power of web-connected people, it's only a matter of time before national politicians begin to publicly give these new structures their just and growing due.  That said, I wonder how much time will pass before President Obama himself refers to citizen media as The Fifth Estate.

At which point in the future will President Barack Obama openly refer to social media as The Fifth Estate?

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