You can’t get away with nothing these days. And that’s good news.

June 23, 2009

By Michael Mark, creative director/ceo @NYCA

Big Brother does exist. No, it’s not the government. It’s us. And it’s a good thing. With the ubiquitous capacity to take a photo or capture video from your phone combined with the ability to communicate in an instant to millions on Twitter, we have 24/7 surveillance. We are being watched while we are doing the watching while sharing and it’s for our own good.  Who better to do it?

Personally I believe human nature is good. Yes, that even goes for most ad people.  The universal camera that is trained on us all will show that to be true. In our emails we get more good stuff than ever; like this video about people who commit random acts of kindness.

The first images I saw from the United Airlines emergency landing in the Hudson came to my phone via Twitter.

But if you happen to be trying to pull something Mr. Naughty – well then, just like Tom Joad said in The Grapes of Wrath, “I’ll be there.” The 2009 version of the book will add “and I’ll tweet my 25,000 followers and they’ll tweet their followers….” The point is, if one person sees it, instantly millions will see it.

The election in Iran proves this.  The outpouring was immediate and gripping. Twitter lists showed a steady stream of updates and links to photos and videos all making the developing turmoil clear and irrefutable. It’s still going on despite threats from the Supreme Leader. The communication will not stop.  And it’s not only in government that this is happening, of course. When Amazon seemed to be censoring books, the Twitterverse was on them fast as you can “oh no you didn’t” and Amazon used Twitter right back to react to the protests. The books are up for sale again. 

Twitter had approximately 17 million unique U.S.-based visitors in April, and about 24 million worldwide, according to Nielsen. Its number of users has grown by more than a thousand percent over the last year. Are they all good guys? Maybe not, but their followers are watching them, making sure they behave – a mass deputizing.

So if you’re a bad guy, take this as a warning because bad news travels faster than ever. Don’t do it — because it’s wrong.  But if that isn’t enough, don’t do it because you will get caught. Because you are being watched. 

Good news, though perhaps a laggard in making the rounds, will still get passed around and will inspire more and more good.  I’m convinced of it. And that makes us all better, don’t you think, my Brother?