In the most recent sequel to the “Die Hard” movie series, “Live Free or Die Hard,” the movie’s villain is a technical genius who creates mass chaos by hacking into the major U.S. computer systems. Once again, Bruce Willis plays John McClane, the streetwise detective in the “Die Hard” films, who is greatly overmatched by his nemesis — a young computer mastermind. Because of his lack of technical expertise, McClane’s enemy tauntingly refers to him as “a Timex watch in a digital age.” Although Timex now does in fact sell digital watches, I reference one of my favorite movie lines because it’s instructive for those of you not using social media like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Statistics show that social media are booming. Facebook’s website indicates that it has 400 million active users; MySpace’s online press report from earlier this year says it has 100 million active users (this number has been disputed somewhat, but it is still in the millions); and a recent news article in PCWorld said that in January of this year, Twitter had 75 million visitors. Individuals, celebrities, corporations, nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, media outlets, associations, societies, movements, and others are all using social media to communicate, and their messages are being heard.

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