Feb. 27 Twitter Summary: Activism and Social Media

Suhasini Sanyal @SueSanyal
Annie Feuer @anniefeuer
Rachel Starr @rachelmstarr
Amanda Stromme @Alstromme
Shannon Sloan @shannonsloanPR
Darcy Nenni @darcynenni
On Wednesday, Feb. 27 we continued our discussion from last week on activism and social media. We recapped both sides of the argument between New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell and NYU professor Clay Shirky. Gladwell argues that the media has “oversold” social media as tools for political uprisings, and Shirky argues that social media plays a crucial role in political uprisings.

Part of Gladwell’s argument is that protesters are motivated by strong ties with other activists and people around them, while the weak ties of social media acquaintances do not motivate the actions of protesters. The Greensboro sit-in was a particularly good example of how strong ties can lead to action.

We also discussed why social media gets so much credit for igniting protests, focusing on The Arab Spring and The Occupy Movements as examples. Protesters in the Philippines, Spain and Moldova have effectively used social media that led to successful outcomes. Users are able to post meeting times and places as well as provide timely updates to other followers. These examples show the power of social media to bring mass audiences together to fight the cause. High risk activism, such as these examples, require strong ties, hierarchy and power structure.

On the other hand, government is also using social media and therefore protests such as Belarus in 2006 and Iran in 2009 backfired on the users. In fact there also seems to be a website that is dedicated to how the government should implement social media!

The online activism does not guarantee a successful revolution. We also touched on the idea of “slacktivism” which seems to be a major critique of using social media for activism.

We watched two videos in class. The first, Power to the People, can be found here. The second video, #Revolution, can be found here.

After we discussed activism and social media, we looked at P.O.S.T or people, objectives, strategies and technology, and how we use this to create our social media plan for our clients.

Explanation of “slacktivism” http://bit.ly/GhQQe #J412ssm

What are strong ties in comparison to weak ties? #J412ssm

“The Internet lets us exploit the power of…connections…But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism”-Mark Granovetter #j412ssm

Requirements of high-risk activism: strong ties, hierarchy, and power structure #J412ssm

#J412ssm social media gets credit for propelling activism movements because it’s new, fast and reaches an incredibly large audience

“Technology facilities consumers more and more. Positively and negatively.” #J412ssm

Thanks to Twitter, events like the death of Osama Bin Laden news travels very fast. One of the many perks of social media. #J412ssm

Social Media doesn’t guarantee a successful protest. #J412ssm

Did the occupy movements take full advantage of social media or did participation drop off? #J412ssm

The ability to rally thousands of people down to the streets in one day is really difficult to do without social media #j412ssm

@kmatthews making an appearance in the #Revolution video on the Occupy movements. Nice! #J412ssm

How would the use of social media change if it was controlled? #J412ssm

The Conservative Dilemma: idea that political and nonpolitical speech are not mutually exclusive #j412ssm

Do you think that social media is good for slacktivism or for actual activism? #j412ssm

Could you imagine “social media” being a dated term… what else would it be called? #j412ssm

#J412ssm Remember that platforms are generic. How will you tailor them to your specific organization?

A complete transcript of the live Twitter chat from Monday’s class can be found here. http://searchhash.com/index.php?q=%23J412ssm&start=2%2F27%2F2012&end=2%2F27%2F2012

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