Last month StumbleUpon had around 7 million registered users. Twitter is coming up pretty close, with around 4 million registered users, while Facebook watches all this from a distance, with more than 200 millions registered users. Why are those numbers important, apart from dry media statistics? Because they are not just numbers, they represent populations.
One of the most surprising and most important effects of social networking is the creation of a new type of country. A country which is not defined by physical borders, but by domain names. A country which is ruled by Terms Of Service, and not Constitutions. A type of country which, in some cases, is far more rich than most of the traditional, physical bordered countries.
If you’re surprised by these affirmations is good. It means you are from the old fashioned generation which thought email is the final frontier. If you’re not surprised, I bet you are one of the happy citizens of those new countries. You are already an active member of that population and help the economical growth of that specific country.
Well, for those still surprised, I will try to uncover in this article why and how the social media is shaping the new digital-political structure of the world, the structure that will overlap in the end the familiar geo-political structure.
Traditional And Digital Countries
A traditional country model is defined by borders, physical borders. A citizenship is defined by a special identification document, by which you are recognized. The traditional model of a country is territorial. You can’t really DO something outside the physical borders and your citizenship. The value is defined inside a territory, where there is a currency which you can trade for value. A traditional country is defined by fixed factors, like geography.
On the other hand, the digital countries are defined by interactions. Your citizenship is your username. In the Amazon country, you interact by buying things. In the eBay country you can do even more, you can sell your stuff too. And in the Monster country you can hunt for a job. All of these are interactions. And all digital countries are defined by interaction, instead of physical borders. Interactions performed over the internet.