The use of social network sites is growing at an exponential rate. However, the growth that is occurring cannot merely be perceived on a subscription level. The increasing functionality of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is leveraging growth in the ways which society use social media. This increasing functionality is in effect, developing a foundation upon which future possibilities of the internet and the philosophies which extend from it are created.
I agree with Maria Popova’s (2010) statement in that the hierarchies which exist within the social web of the internet, are particularly useful in promoting an understanding of causes. While awareness is certainly not a sufficient condition for activism, it is a necessary one, and the social network platforms available in modern times offer a place in which to draw attention to an issue and convey the messages to a far wider audience than ever before.
In reflecting on the use of social media in the Arab Spring in the article by Morozov (2011), it is of my perception that social media was employed as a tool to assist the movement, however it was not the reasoning behind it. The use of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter during this time were essentially an effective aid to help carry the notion of engagement with political institutions and reforms. However, activism, whether online or offline requires reasoning and passion and desired for change by those involved. These three motives are what drive a reform and a revolution. From a marketing perspective, it could be seen that social media is the execution or strategy which is used to reach an objective. This is not to say that the role of social media in such movements is not valued. In fact, my view is quite the contrary. As our society becomes ever increasingly saturated in technology, the ways of life, including standing up for what you believe in are consequently becoming more prevalent online.
Social media is the tool which carries the voice. It is the users which create the message.
Morozov, E. (2011) ‘ Facebook and Twitter are just places revolutionaries go’ The Guardian, 7 March. [URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/07/facebook-twitter-revolutionaries-cyber- utopians].
Popova, M. (2010) ‘Malcolm Gladwell Is #Wrong’ Change Observer, 10 June. [URL: http://changeobserver.designobserver.com/feature/malcolm-gladwell-is-wrong/19008/].