Activism 2.0

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.

Reference:

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/].

Global Nervous System

Having read Bruce Sterling’s history of the Internet, my perceptions of it’s origins have altered dramatically. Rather than smooth liner progress, this reading shows how messy, contingent and intermittent the development of such technologies has been. In a way, I feel this new frame mirrors the diverse and sporadic nature of the Internet, and the networks it fosters. It is this particular disposition, which leads to the seemingly impossible task of control of content, a reoccurring topic of discussion within Australian society and the parliament.

The varied levels of communication networks are constantly being shaped by flows of information; built upon past experience and maintained and changed in the constant reshaping through the exposure to new information in everyday life. As Marshall McLuhan (1969) notes, the flows of information are infinitely malleable. The often-public aspects of networks do not merely offer a single message connected by two sides. An example of this could be seen through Facebook. Asking a question online to a friend could accumulate a wealth of responses from others (warranted or not), but again, this is the nature of networks!

Having grasped an understanding of some of the key aspects of this weeks readings, time-boundness represented a key issue in the development of this coherence. In an environment such as cyberspace, where information flows very quickly, through computer networks, and the new interrelations are born as fast as old connections die – time is a supreme factor. The radical development of new technologies, media and uses for these networks dramatically affects how information is transmitted. A break down in this system to me seems like a blockage in the nervous system within the human body. Messages travelling around the body are stopped and the functionality and understanding comes to a halt. Who would have thought that technology and human anatomy could create a plausible analogy?

Reference:

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b1/MAZE_30x20_Prim.ogv/mid-MAZE_30x20_Prim.ogv.jpg

Lessig, L. (2006). Four puzzles from cyber space. In L. Lessig Code version 2.0  (pp 9-30). New York: Basic Books. [URL:https://www.socialtext.net/codev2/four_puzzles_from_cyberspace]

Stalder, F. (2005) ‘Information Ecology’. In Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks pp. 62-66 [URL: http://felix.openflows.com/pdf/Notebook_eng.pdf]

Sterling, B. (1993) ‘A Short History of the Internet’, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction [URL:http://sodacity.net/system/files/Bruce_Sterling_A_Short_History_of_the_Internet.pdf]