Imagine a world that transcends national borders. Where distance has no meaning. Where all it takes is a cellphone to allow someone living in the inner city projects to communicate his or her thoughts in the same sphere as a trust-fund blue blood. Identity is fluid. This is the world in which we now live.COINsCon09_cloudNow before you dismiss me as an early-1990s internet idealist let me make it clear that there are tons of barriers still out there to be surmounted. Many people in the world cannot afford the technology necessary to link in to the network. Governments such as China and Iran erect firewalls to prevent external access. Moreover, the world of online interactions raises all sorts of other challenges. Anonymity also creates new opportunities for the dark side of human nature of emerge- from flame wars to stalking to identity theft.

Yet these detractions do not mean social media should be pushed aside. Technological innovations are changing the way that we interact with each other. Social media is far more than simply using Twitter and Facebook to procrastinate or gossip.