Great revolutions from 19th and 20th Century, as the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution, can’t be imagined without considering  key political actors participating from secrecy to mobilise masses and break down old absolutism. In that context, secrecy seemed to be an alternative way to authoritarian regimes that banned every kind of rights like  free expression and organization. The secrecy was the alternative way to avoid that kind of  repression.

A century later, under different conditions from those at the French and Russian Revolutions, but under the same repressive regime. The arab revolutions not only challenged the stablished autocratic power, but also redefined the concept of secrecy. I am talking about the social network participation as a way to reduce the “organizational cost”: the political persecution, censorship, repression, etc.

Fraud complaints at Iran´s elections through Twitter and the Egypt revolts organized through Facebook (followed later by Moubarak’s overthrow), positioned social networks in a central role as protest movements. These new ways of expression and organization reduced the costs of venturing into secrecy living under authoritarian governments.

Although the success of the 21st century revolution’s is not explained directly by the role of social networks, they are still relevant tools that expand the concept of democratic participation (including demands and opinions as elements of social protests). Social Networks act as a virtual world towards the rules settled by political power: this rules are not imposed by politicians but by users. No matter how power is regulated, and who are authorized to exercise it, social networks overdo restrictions imposed by political elites or media dedicated to create consent.

Social Networks work as a big social thermometer, a big poll (not always representative) that helps listening “the buzz” that otherwise coulnd’t be listened. Because of this the concept of  “user” was redefined. When we talk about revolutions we are talking about people as citizens so when we talk about market we can analyse them as consumers. As a consequence of this “the big poll” becomes transformed into a “big focus group”.

The “Social Networks Boom” has arrived into the market. Day by day, many companies open communication or marketing departments. This new areas are dedicated to Social Media and Community Management.

Social Networks are in many cases favorable places to analyse the behaviour of the consumers to products and services. Consumers add their preferences throughout opinions of what they consume in the market. In consequence, companies can improve their responsiveness in time at suggestions and claims.

Also, throughout the consumers behavior you can detect needs and anticipate to client’s claims. Free information provided by social networks may also help to detect key influencers talking about certain products. The vocabulary or language used by users is also important to analyze what words the users tend to relate with determined products or services.

The information gathered in social networks may follow different methodological steps to contribute in different company areas: Sales, Marketing, Communication, etc.

The magic of Social Networks resides in reducing the distance between persons creating a suitable area for debate and opinion exchange. In this way throughout infinite communication channels, democracy and market tend to enrich.

¿How relevant do you think social networks are at economic and political issues?