Week 14

The authors this week had very compelling, yet mixed arguments. Hindman advocates that infrastructure matters. Cohn suggests that the U.S. government should be involved in social media to make them more available.

Hindman argues that there is a distinction on the Internet on production of material and what actually gets read. There is a lot of noise on the Internet, but what actually gets read can actually have an effect on mobilization. He is providing a proposal distinction of HOW the social media gets used. As such, Hindman is giving a mixed argument where what we see is that in certain conditions the social media is useful, and in other conditions it is not. He finds that social media does not provide a deliberate forum. This does not mean that the Internet is necessarily bad for democracy because it still gains some equal representation and touches on some normative democracy norms for some people who didn’t have it before.

Cohn’s suggestion is being taken in by the U.S. government, as they are now on facebook and twitter. It is a down-up, rather than a top-down movement. The U.S. government is being proactive. This does not correspond with the idea that democracy comes by itself as a result from social media. However, I do not find that this will help the U.S. state department strategically. It is not guaranteed that using social networking platforms will go beyond being tactical. Do you agree with this?

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3 Responses to Week 14

  1. anishaa1 says:

    I think it is a question of how exactly the State Department uses strategy to their advantage. Social media could definitely be tool for democracy. I don’t think it is the answer to it but if used correctly, like the Obama case, it has a potential to be very successful. Also, it might become more effective as time goes on and like Shirky said things are popular when they become technologically uninteresting. When social media is more salient in our society, people might be more receptive to it.

  2. taylorkdavis says:

    feel the switch is in the right direction. Although still very tactical, rather than strategic, the benefits of being on Facebook and Twitter is that users are already there. There is no need for them to go to a complete different website, rather they can view posts on their own profiles. However, although it is made easier for users to access information, that does not necessarly mean that they are going to seek out information on the state department. Perhaps to make it more strategic rather than tactical, the state departement could do something more along the lines of what the Obama campaign did. Understanding the importance of offline social networks, the State department should work towards encouraging their followers to engage in converstations with their close tie offline friends in hopes of spreading information. The state department must also clearly lay out their goals and ways to attain them.

  3. nopatric says:

    I agree that with Hindman in that there is a huge difference between posting content on the internet, and posting content that people actually read. That being said I think you’re correct when you say, from the Hindman article, that at least social media offers everyone a voice if they want to say something. But why say something if no one is listening (or in this case reading)?

    I think your point in your final paragraph is a good one, but it’s interesting because it seems the GOP is using more of a top-down approach with social media. We discussed this in class earlier in the semester and I found it fascinating. How the party as a whole sets an agenda or a certain message to communicate for the day and they systematically distribute that message through many different members.

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