Sep 18, 2009

Using social media to fight political corruption

An amazing thing happened a few days ago. An independent organization used viral video and social media to strike a huge blow against political corruption.

ACORN is an organization meant to assist low-income families with social needs and issues. They help people register to vote, find affordable housing, and secure health care, for example.

ACORN was at the center of a huge voter registration scandal during the 2008 election, and the organization gave millions of dollars to the Obama campaign.

Additionally, they were set to receive billions of dollars in funding from the federal government. $8.5 billion, to be exact.

Their funding was recently cut off, however, due to the unearthing of a massive scandal involving ACORN employees.

Independent activitsts in cities all over the country entered ACORN offices earlier this month with hidden cameras in hopes to uncover corruption within the ACORN organization. Uncover they did, as ACORN employeess offered assistance with prostitution, child prostitution, drugs and other crimes.

Armed with only their hidden cameras, these activists started posting their stories to blogs and on YouTube. As the number of hits and views started climbing, the story gained momentum on a national stage. The work of these social media users has created a huge buzz on the national political landscape.

Eventually, their work led to the House of Representatives voting to cut off funding for ACORN.

To me, this story is another lesson on the power of social media. When we create our own media, we are no longer the passive receptors of other peoples' opinions and agendas. We set our own agendas. We report our own news. We get our own results.

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