In the past few years it has been interesting to witness the growth of social media and the impact this has had on political activism and organisation whether this be positive or negative.
The most current and to an extent attractive example of this would be the protests in Istanbul, the governments plan to demolish Gezi Park triggering mass rioting in Turkey’s most populous city. I was particularly intrigued to hear reports of bloggers and ‘tweeters’ being arrested for publicising content that according to the government was considered to be “misinformation.” Some of the tweets allegedly revealed locations of police and was being used to direct protestors.
Blogs such as, ‘What is Happening In Istanbul,’ (http://defnesumanblogs.com/2013/06/01/what-is-happenning-in-istanbul/) are particularly interesting as they are able to generate a huge amount of hits, (if successful,) and act as an medium between society and the mainstream media. Essentially this is one of the key conflicting issues within the Turkish protests, that being the media is ignoring many of the injustices carried out by police. An article from Russia Today explains, “many in Turkey believe strongly that there is a responsibility that comes with being a news provider, and that Turkish media have failed in that responsibility.” http://rt.com/news/turkey-media-poor-coverage-245/
What is particularly strange about this dichotomy is that prior to the internet these mainstream media sources were the ones in charge of regulating content and creating a balanced depiction of events. The article, ‘How Egypt’s Uprising Is Helping Redefine the Idea of a Media Event,’ touches on this notion explaining, “mainstream television came to the party only after a few other factors in the media ecology — namely, social media and online streaming — arrived. Social media was to some extent a way for people to organize in Egypt, and it was a way to get the word about the unrest out to a wider audience.” http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/
I mean it is impossible to even scratch the surface of how these new technologies are influencing the greater social movement. From my point of view as a student and some might say a socialist, this is a great tool and in the wise words of Don Chipp it’s just another way to, “keep the bastards honest.”
And now for something completely different….