There is more to Twitter than stalking

Who knew that twitter had a greater use then allowing us to stalk Miley Cyrus. Im sorry but Miley promoting her new CD is NOT new! Someone setting themself on fire as a result of abuse fromt he government is real news. It has enabled millions is civilians throughout the Middle East and North Africa to speak out against government corruptions. 

The use of twitter throughout the Arab Springs has been continuously debated over the past few years and will continue to be debated. Some academics including Malcolm Gladwell, believe that twitter hasnt had the effect that everyone believes. Gladwell feels that is been overblown.

I dont care if he is an academic, i think he is wrong.

I dont belive that twitter started these revolutions, but i do belive it was a key tool in giving voiceless people a voice. it enabled them to speak out through online media platforms that cannot be controlled by the government. Twitter enables people thorughout the globe to become aware fo the atrocities occuring throughout these countries. Twitter and social media connects millions of people throughout the world every second. As i type this, my twitter feed is being over run about the Lybian President being Kidnapped. News programs cover these thing in 30 seconds, how on earth can we be fulling informed about events if we only hear about it for 30secs?

My main question is… If social media/ twitter has not effect, cannot bring political change, then why did the governments fear it so much? Why did the government feel that is was necessary to hack into account and deleat them? Why did Egyptians officials arrest a man over creating a FB group? Why was in the internet shutdown in Egypt?

Twitter alone doesnt have much of an impact but when its combined with tradition revolutionary tools, it can be powerful and enable their messages of protest to be projected throughout the world.

Governments clearly fear this tool, so isnt that evidence enought that is has an effect?

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7 thoughts on “There is more to Twitter than stalking

  1. I am the same as I don’t think that Social media has created revolutions throughout the world but it has definitely aided these situations through allowing information that once would have been contained and withheld from the rest of the world to escape into the ‘twittesphere.’ This article http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/facebook-and-twitter-key-to-arab-spring-uprisings-report states that 9 in 10 Egyptians were using Twitter and Facebook throughout the Arab Spring as a means to help get information out to the rest of the world and to help organise protests. I find it extremely naive when people, like Gladwell believe that Twitter and other social media sites have had no impact on activism and the outcomes of revolutions in previous years.

  2. I believe what the government fears is information. I believe the internet is an initiator for change, but not necessarily social media. Social media is heavily tied to identity and peer approval. That is especially so with Facebook. Whilst it is convenient for organisational purposes, the content on it is measured by likes, not merit. The internet on the other hand is a place of anonymity. People can participate without seeking glory or in some cases, retribution. There’s an interesting interview from ABC on this concept (http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/i27m-a-cyber-utopian-and-i27m-proud-of-it21/4267632). The interviewees are two ‘cyber-utopists’ who discuss what they believe is utopia.

    • Thanks you make a good point, social media has an element of ‘likeability’ that can distracts from the cause, so I think you’re right, it is important that surface images do not dictate the importance the message. If we can learn to look beyond profile pictures and followers it would help in understanding what exactly is being communicated.

  3. Going on from the above comments I also agree Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general is playing a part in diminishing totalitarianism, because they have provided platforms to accelerate communication by easily organising information. The momentum of progress is the astonishing thing.
    I see it starting when a message is being transmitted and impacting households that are changing their point of view from when they were under the impression (from other previous one way communication devices), their household was not connected to Egyptian households. The remarkable connection factor that Australian’s have with (for example) Egyptian’s, because of the information transmitted about oil investments from the U.S. in the Middle East and the Australian government’s connection to the U.S. and its military. We have further established these connections because the internet allows us to easily transmit and easily understand that we are connected to a government that has deals with dictators that keep their citizens in poverty stricken conditions. The degree of connection seems long but with the internet we can make a clearer picture to use for supporting social change in locations that we can’t physically reach but the government of these locations does have physical impacts on our own government and its resources.

    The important connection which is organised by social media, however, is dependant on peoples’ interest levels, and clicking ‘like’ may unfortunately be the extent that most see as a necessary interest level. Images and videos that resonate because they are easily understood and showcase the important events that generate a world wide effect, are becoming more prominent and the internet as a tool for social change is a driving force but as useful as it is it still needs a physically organisation of activity to be powerful and to actually bring on mass involvement which can then eventually create change.

  4. So many rhetorical questions! I would try to limit them, if I were you- I know they drive a certain someone crazy. Also, try to proofread before publishing blog posts. I’m guilty of sometimes leaving it to the night before to read over my blogs and make sure they actually make sense, but your online image will benefit from it in the long run.
    I agree with you that social networking sites such as Twitter play a powerful role in the empowerment of individuals and affecting situations. I am sure though that you are not the only one that feels this way and your argument would have been much more powerful had you cited a scholar or referenced an article on a reputable site. For example, this article by Ravi Kumar (http://blogs.worldbank.org/youthink/social-media-and-social-change-how-young-people-are-tapping-technology) references five examples of social networking inspiring social change around the world. I found the most humbling of these stories to be young Mckenna Pope (13) who petitioned Hasbro to create a gender neutral Easy-Bake Oven because her brother wanted to be a chef. The petition received 45,000 signatures in a month and Hasbro soon complied. Though this incident is of much less significance than political upheavals in the Middle East, it does still evidence the impact which social networking can have on causes, no matter how small they may seem.

  5. I feel like Twitter and other forms of social media has had an impact too, as people who usually wouldn’t be able to speak out and spread their opinion, can with social media. Governments try to stop the spread of information on the internet as they fear for where it could go and who could see it, but it is so hard to control the flow of information on social media and this is what they fear the most

  6. I definitely agree with you here! Social media sites such as twitter are currently the most powerful tools in the hands of social revolutionaries. Gladwell believes that social media is “practically useless when it comes to serious activism” (Popova, M 2010). Just as you pointed out, HE IS WRONG! Just by typing ‘impact of social media on political causes’ into google, I had a multitude of examples to read through. It would be extremely naive and ignorant to believe that social media has not played are large part in many social and political revolutions. Here is an article written by Kim Garst, explaining relevant examples of how Social media has sparked revolutionary movements citing incidents such as Haiti 2010, Boston 2013 and we cannot forget Kony 2012! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-garst/social-media-as-a-catalys_b_3197544.html. Here is a photo I had used in my week one blog from The Guardian showing the incredible statistics generated by the campaign, demonstrating just how powerful social media really is http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/apr/20/kony-2012-facts-numbers

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