Check this map out – it was put together by the BBC’s Jamie Ross – and shows countries that have a population of less than the number of Likes on the musician Shakira’s Facebook page.
At the time of writing Shakira is the most popular person on Facebook with around 93 million Likes – that’s more than the populations of every country on Earth, other than the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, China and Indonesia – impressive.
What this tells us though is something deeper than a facile comparison like that – but it is shows how in the era of the internet, the nation state is no longer the only actor on the international stage.
This isn’t exactly a new revelation – for a couple of decades now globalisation theorists have been writing on how there are other influential actors in the international system: global companies and non-governmental organisations (such as the United Nations) are capable of marshalling the sort of power that Kings of old could only dream of. Now, it seems, we can add Shakira to that list.
Whereas once it took great armies, as we’ve seen with the Arab Spring all it can take now is a post on social media to kick things off.
And we’ve gone and let Shakira gain 93 million followers. All she’d have to do is send a message rallying her troops and she could occupy every capital square in the world in one go.
Here’s hoping she remains a benevolent leader, and sticks to selling people music instead.
By James O'Malley | May 13th, 2014