Social media is having a profound impact on the way we communicate with one another, as well as the amount of content creation, sharing and information exchange that takes place every day. Much has been described about the ways that these interactions are changing our personal lives and redefining civic engagement.

US President Barack Obama’s campaigns generated a grassroots movement with social media as the primary tool of engagement. With the Arab Spring, the sweep of protests across the region proved that young, leaderless activists using primarily online and mobile tools could topple dictatorial regimes.

A quieter, but equally powerful revolution is taking place in the private sector. “Citizen consumers” are using social media to redefine corporate norms. The telecoms provider Sprint improved its policies to better protect victims of domestic violence after a petition obtained 175,000 signals.

Social media can work through positive reinforcement as well. An Edelman survey revealed that 53% of Millennials would promote a socially responsible brand on Facebook.

Social media provides individuals with the unprecedented opportunity to speak for themselves. Clever organizations will leverage this opportunity to converse directly with their customers, listening to their needs and generating innovative new ideas. In the age of the “citizen consumer”, conversation will be key to resilient dynamism.

Author: Noa Gafni is a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum and responsible for communications for the Global Shapers Community

Image: A computer keyboard is seen in Bucharest REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel