Friday, May 21, 2010

The Value of Social Networking for Action

My classmate Katherine suggested this article to me during the facebook discussions and I found it very intriguing.

The article discusses the history behind online civil disobedience. It discusses the begining of online computer activism and the benefit of enabling political activists to communicate with one another across international borders with relative ease and speed.

With the internet providing "privileges discourse, dialogue, discussion and open and free access," free public communication could be spread. People could discuss absolutely anything, find people to converse with about political issues. We are granted the right and freedom to speak our opinions and with the world wide web, this provided 0 boundaries, 0 confinements to voicing and sharing opinions and views with others. Think of what this could revolutionize into...forming political protests, virutal sit-ins (what we are seeing today) by using social networking media such as Twitter.

"The Internet infrastructure [now] is not only a means toward or a site for communication, but the Internet infrastrucutre itself becomes an object or site for action." A site for action, an opportunity to display Civil Disobedience. Taking advantage of this action provides people with the literal feel that ONE person certainly can make a difference and can have their voice be heard.

Electronic Civil Disobedience is "a form of mass decentered electronic direct action, utilizes virtual blockades and virtual sit-ins. Unlike the participant in a traditional civil disobedience action, an ECD actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, from work, from the university, or from other points of access to the Net." It is more easily accessible to use online. And as I said earlier, it allows an individual to really feel united in a cause when using a form of social networking to unite with others regarding certain causes.

So I am going to use the protesting of the Iran elections as my main example in using social networking to take civil disobedient action. The internet "opens up new possibilities for Net politics, especially for those already predisposed to extraparliamentarian and direct action social movement tactics."


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  2. Oops, I was trying to edit a line. Anyway, I was just saying how it was interesting that different cultures have different ideas of what civil disobedience entails. I found an article going along with somehting called a "passive resistance" in Palestine - something our classmate Chris alluded to in an earlier post - and I was impressed that there was rock throwing involved and wondered if there might be some of underhanded rockslinging of sorts going on in peaceful movements across the internet where opponents are villanified and the "peacemaker" acts the role of the victim. It's something to think about.

  3. When you speak of "social networking for action" it made me think of a group that some family members were trying to get me to join on facebook:!/group.php?gid=33250941593

    It was to be a "march on Salt Lake City" in the wake of prop 8. 1182 members joined, and are still members, but the righteously indignant "march" never materialized.

    It's interesting to think that with social media you can get thousands of people all up in arms about something, but nothing materializes, maybe partly because the ease of jumping on the bandwagon also means it's easy to jump off or just not expend extra energy.