Role of Social Media’s Influence in Activism and Revolution on the World Stage
Dartnell (25) defines social media as content democratization and the shift in people’s role in the process of disseminating and reading information. As Dartnell (26) explains, social media enables users to take part in content creation, provides easy accessibility of information and enables community and conversation formation. In simple terms, social media offers connectedness and provides a platform that people can use to interact with others via the Internet. Some of the common examples of social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube among others. Given the information-sharing nature of social media, it has been used in various ways including marketing, presidential campaigns and as a socialization tool among others. Dartnell (26) points out that social media platforms have transformed the face of activism and revolution in the contemporary world. These social media platforms play a huge role in activism and revolution all over the world. Activism and revolution involve the fight by citizens aimed at advocating for social justice as well as changing the leadership of a country. The three main roles of social media in revolution and activism include information mobility, physiological impact and the creation of urgency. This paper discusses the roles played by social media in activism and revolution across the world.
First, social media platforms ensure that there is mobility of information, which is a key ingredient for the success of activism and revolution. This role is mainly played by Facebook and Twitter. With the huge number of people using these sites, information is easily passed to several target audiences. For instance, in case there is a plan for mass action in a given country, the people on social sites share the information quickly and within a short period, everyone is informed about the planned mass action (Dartnell 39). This is the case for the revolution witnessed in Egypt, which was planned and organized via Facebook.
Second, social media platforms have a psychological impact on revolution and activism. A psychological impact implies to change in the way people view things. This role is also achieved since there are huge numbers of people using these social sites in all countries. For example, on Facebook, people share photos and videos a lot regarding different events. The citizens of a country might be satisfied with the leadership of a country. However, with instances of insecurity and mass killings, people exploit social media platforms by sharing photos and this change the psychology of others who has not witnessed that before. For example, an activist may share a photo of police brutality, and use the photo as a call to mass action. This exerts a psychological influence on the manner in which citizens perceive the regime and might start calling for revolution and change in leadership. This impromptu emergence of revolution would obviously be caused by social media through the psychological impact it creates on people (Hill 45).
Third, social media causes need for urgency on governance issues. This is yet another role played by social media in revolution and activism (Dartnell 14). Urgency on governance refers to how soon the people want revolution to occur in their country. Notably, the people might have relaxed enduring the poor leadership in their country. However, since social media hosts a huge number of people and has peer pressure, the people push each other to join revolutions for change (Hill 123). This is achieved through updating statuses on platforms such as Facebook and Tweeter personal views on Twitter and other personal blogs targeting several audiences. With all these, people share information about leadership in the country and the others get the urge to push for revolution.
In conclusion, social media plays a huge role in activism and revolution. The common platforms for social media include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube among others. With the huge number of people using these social sites, it is easy to pass and share information. Social media platforms play a role in activism and revolution through information mobility, creation of urgency and psychological change. Information mobility is achieved since sharing of information is easy on social sites and the people are updated on what is happening around them easily. Additionally, psychological change occurs since social media allows people to share pictures and videos and this changes humans’ view regarding certain things.
Dartnell, Michael York. Web Activism And Global Conflict. Chicago: University of Toronto Press, 2006. Print.
Hill, Symon. Activism in the Internet Age. New York: New Internationalist, 2013. Print.