Can you really call it a revolution?

As recently discussed in class their is and has been speculation as to whether or not the use of social media is successful in promoting certain messages and increasing involvement. When somebody retweets an important message, is it actually improving the situation or is it simply just relaying the message? Karpf would argue that when we use social media in this way we are not actually helping the situation, and our involvement is based around our own needs to feel better about ourselves. However, this is not completely true. Social media does in fact allow for aid in specific situations.

Social media has played a huge role in communication in the middle east and northern Africa. Howard discusses in his article “The Role of Digital Media,” how social media was able to allow for instantaneous and widely shared information (Howard). This information allowed followers to become more organized and learn about information from their peers in similar situations. This was the one form of communication that had not been censored by the government and because of this became a tool to all of those involved (Howard). Howard’s opinion was then challenged by Anderson as to whether or not social media was making as big of an impact as he thought. She argues that while social media is great, to call it a revolution would be incorrect (Anderson).

With the argument that social media has to capability to organize the masses, and the counter argument that its impact is only as strong as the civic engagement that follows it – which do you find to be true? Do you feel that social media can revolutionize how we communicate in challenging times?

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2 Responses to Can you really call it a revolution?

  1. emilyod17 says:

    I think that this week’s reading make a compelling argument that social media networking sites can be used as a forum to organize the masses and bring together a group of people with common interests and goals and facilitate a movement for change. In the Middle East, social media has been used to organize protests, protests that have made quite a difference, especially in the overthrowing of authoritarian rulers such as Qaddafi. Social media has really revolutionized the way people communicate, and has made revolution a lot easier for people because of the wide scope and reach that SNS has across the world. Civic engagement first starts with an influx of information, and SNS has made information a lot more accessible for people that may not have had such knowledge prior to certain events. Great post!

  2. maddock35 says:

    I believe that the impact of the social media can only be gauged by the civic engagement that follows, but that social media plays an integral role in starting revolutions. To me, a digital revolution suggests that nothing happens in the real world. A digital revolution does not lead to any change regarding the issues that affect people in their daily lives. When social media is used to organize large numbers of people and get information to them so that they may then become more active in the cause, I believe it is playing a vital catalyst role for a real revolution to take place. I argue that social media is simply a tool, albeit an important one, used to get a revolution started and sustained. The real change occurs in protests, boycotts, etc. in the real world.

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