I think that there has been a rapid transformation of new media forms that can help connect with different communities virtually anywhere in the world at a low and affordable cost. These platforms give us endless opportunities to have our voices heard. “An important attribute of the net (broadly understood) is its capacity to facilitate horizontal, or civic communication: people and organizations can link up with each other for purposes of sharing information, providing mutual support, organizing, mobilizing, or solidifying collective identities.” Dalhgren (2012) Social media technologies such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Blogs, and Forums have become the preferred methods of interaction and are seriously changing the patterns of social communication and activism. After doing the readings I wanted to focus on the differences between online vs offline activism, and give some benefits/opportunities but also some drawbacks.
I quickly just wanted to look at what online and offline activists are. Signing online petitions, liking certain campaigns on social media websites, or organizing movements within the cyber space are all examples of actions an online activist may participate in. An offline activist is someone who may participate in all of the above actions, but also participates in movements outside the Internet space.
So we have talked previously in this class about the importance of our online personas, and how we are always trying to stay actively engaged. One way to stay engaged with your communities is to become an online activist. There are tons of online forums, petitions and video sharing opportunities online and one can easily help a cause my “liking” a page, or sharing a viral video. This is one of the benefits social media has given to social activism, ultimate convenience. I could basically sit on my computer chair and be participating in something. It also generates a larger number of those who have become aware of the need for action. Even though the whole Kony video was a bit of a bust, it is a great example of the vast amount of people that a viral video can reach due to social media. Bruns & Highfield explain this opportunity of social media perfectly, they said, “the rise of the Internet as a popular medium has led to a substantial increase in available channels for information and entertainment, among other purposes.” There are of course some people to may believe that online activism is a bit of a cop-out and that the only way to be really involved, and really show support is through physically being there, and physically inputting yourself into the campaign at hand.
So my question for you fellow bloggers is…….”Do you consider yourself an online activists, If so how?!” Also, “Do you think that online activism is just as supportive as offline activism?”
This is my picture for this week, and I used it because I know it was totally circulating all over social media after the whole Kony thing. And I know that it caused to debates so I thought it was a good picture to depict the indifference between online vs offline activism.
Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site [Snurb.info]. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.
Dahlgren, P. (2012). Reinventing participation: civic agency and the web environment. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations. 4.2, p27.