First, how not to.
Facebook and social media offer the potential of peace by Kathleen Parker, published in The Washington Post, is just bad journalism. Kathleen writes as if the subject is only something she has only read about in, and experienced through cheap tabloids. There is no depth, no critical gaze, no context. It is also horribly edited to boot, resulting in paragraphs like this,
“The ancient rivalries and the heavy burden of history are being lifted among a rising generation of world citizens even as the taupe generation rehashes the same – may I just say – absurd arguments over who gets to claim which square inch of the sandbox. That is so last millennium.”
Contrast this bovine, and if US policy is to be influenced in any way by it, downright dangerous analysis with what the Economist says in A cyber-house divided,
“But the internet is not magic; it is a tool. Anyone who wants to use it to bring nations closer together has to show initiative, and be ready to travel physically as well as virtually. As with the telegraph before it—also hailed as a tool of peace—the internet does nothing on its own.”
The Economist debunks comprehensively Kathleen’s simplistic weltanschauung, and posits a more nuanced, cautiously optimistic analysis that necessarily links the use of ICTs with the dangerous, thankless, long-term physical efforts needed to bring about peace in most complex political emergencies and other zones of conflict.
Twitter and Facebook don’t engender peace. Humans do. And to date, they risk being killed for it.