Social Media, Social Movements and Political Revolution

The term ‘slacktivism’ is a derogatory term for internet activism. The kind of thing whereby hipsters ‘like’ videos or photos on social media and then brag to people that they have made a difference in the world….

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 Although some criticism of internet activism is merited, the fact of the matter is that most of these complaints come from baby boomers that feel like their generation that grew up in the 60’s were far more proficient at activism and also feel that the hippy movement was about actual protesting and focused on free-living and things that made a difference.

….But realistically, hippy’s and hipsters are pretty much the same thing and just because you got stoned in a field and listed to Janice Joplin and Hendrix all day when you were young….doesn’t mean you actually achieved anything.

Internet activism can definitely become a huge force politically, no doubt! We have already seen this during the ‘Arab Spring’. But it’s important to keep in mind that in the internet does not create the revolution, social media and the web is merely the medium in which the message is spread. (It’s exactly the same as hippy’s handing out no-war flyers in the 60’s, just a far more efficient medium). What creates a revolution or a movement is commonality shared between oppressed people-

“In every effective social change effort that you want to look at there is an inner-core of tightly bound people” (Kessler, 2010).

It certain does appear that cyber-attacks will become a weapon of war. Methods like sit-ins and DDoS attacks will evolve and become far more sophisticated in the future and will most certainly be used to cripple people, organisations and destabilise governments in ways that we cannot even begin to understand in our present time.

Oh and as for KONY 2012, I think South Park summarised the situation best.

Reference

Kessler, S 2010, ‘Why Social Media is Reinventing Activism’, Mashable, 9 October, viewed 22, Sep 2013

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