After years of looking at these issues, creating technology that monitors social media use and tracking events from Egypt to Bahrain to Turkey and Ukraine to the UK and US my final conclusion is pretty harsh: Social Media does not facilitate democracy, rather it promotes and enables fascism.
The issue is with the Network Society and what kind of message creates identity in the Network Society. The changes in economics and media has replaced communities with audiences, masses of people with no connection to each other via tradition.
As many Social Theorists have proposed identity plays a key role in this formation, with people creating new community based on a shared identity formed on the Internet.
But what spreads on the Internet, what identity is formed?
The conclusion I cannot escape is that what spreads in all nations via social media is a politics of hate, or racism, of pageant, of simple answers and lies.
In the rise of ISIS, the Islamic Brotherhood, in Turkey and now with Brexit and the insanity of Trump we see time and time again that the Internets movement into politics, no matter the promise, results in more extreme right wing rule, less personal freedom, more racism and governments that are like the UK and US government now neo-fascist or outright fascist.
We see the rise of people like Putin, Boris Johnson and Trump, neo-fascist or outright fascists.
I hope that people stop using social media, delete your Twitter and Facebook and Instagram accounts and go back to YouTube videos, blog posts, Google searches, Wikipedia and E-mail.
In short the Web of 2010 was a good instrument of growth and development. A tool were people could find facts and make meaningful contributions to culture. Web 2.0 is lazy and hate filled, it is simply a virus that has entered our culture far more negative than TV or processed foods or personal automobiles or any other technology that has been created, adopted and had nothing but negative impacts.