Here in the U.S., tomorrow is the 4th of July, Independence Day, the anniversary commemorating when the 13 American colonies declared their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. This morning I started thinking about how things might have gone down if the colonists had access to social media. Here's what I'm thinking:
- Jefferson and Adams would probably have been Twittering about King George--the "bill of particulars" in the Declaration that lists each of the colonists' complaints seems like perfect Twitter fodder to me.
"He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people." (129 characters)
- Several of the Founding Fathers would have been blogging, I'm sure. I definitely see Ben Franklin with a blog--maybe "Poor Richard's Almanack ONLINE" with some political commentary thrown in.
- King George would probably have been oblivious to the colonists' activity, unless some hot shot in his Court had set up a Google Alert or was monitoring Technorati. This would have happened from home though because the Palace IT department would be blocking all social media applications.
- If they were smart, the colonists would have been uploading video to YouTube and pictures to Flickr--you know, altercations with the local authorities, video from the Boston Tea Party, that sort of thing.
- I could see a remix of "Did You Know?" only this version would be a bunch of stats on how King George and his government were messing with the colonists, ending with a call to donate to the cause through a widget and/or to sign an online petition.
- The Declaration itself would have been written in either a Google doc or a private wiki. When it was done, instead of publishing 200 broadsides, they would have made the document public and started Twittering, emailing and Face-booking the hell out of the thing.
- On the other hand, maybe the Declaration wouldn't have been written at all. Maybe it would have been a viral video that had various people reading different parts of the Declaration, interspersed with video footage and photos that "regular folks" had shared on Flickr and YouTube. There also would have been some cool music to go with it--maybe "Revolution" from the Beatles? Although that would violate copyright.
What do you think? How would social media have shaped the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution?
UPDATE--Check out comments where Thea Cooke has a really interesting take on how the Declaration of Independence might have turned out differently if social media had been used to write it.