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101: 2Media and Community

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David Moscowitz

on 8 October 2018

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Transcript of 101: 2Media and Community

1. Do online communities really exist?
2. Can they endure? Does (social) media make civic engagement more or less likely?
3. Has (social) media changed our notion of
public activism
"The revolution will not be tweeted."

Malcolm Gladwell in 2010
Many critics of the internet and social media claim:
a. We relish our online
b. Social media encourages
c. Society today is a bottomless pit of
an endless stream of "
interruption technologies
The question:
Can screen cultures spur
public engagement?

Here are three high profile
3. Haiti:
Paul Conneally, public communication director for the International Red Cross...
The UN and the International Criminal Court declare Joseph Kony a war criminal.
2. KONY 2012
, a 30-minute film, was a social media sensation...

Over 100 million YouTube views
Justin Beiber, Will Smith, and J.K. Rowling tweeted related links.
"The KONY 2012 campaign started as an experiment. Could an online video make an obscure war criminal famous? And if he was famous, would the world work together to stop him?"
Does public expression show new forms of community and of the public sphere?
Gladwell notes the Greensboro, NC sit-ins. They resulted from many hours of in-person group training about how to pursue this form of protest.
Gladwell concludes that social media could never facilitate this type of protest.
So...does Twitter topple dictators?
1. Arab Spring:
Muhammad Bouazizi sets himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, on Dec.

18, 2010.

Social media shares news and video: Bouazizi's funeral catalyzes protests.
Protesters use social media to organize continued protests.
Tunisian dictator Ben Ali flees within a month.
Revolutionary protests spread throughout the Arab world in 2011 and 2012.
Inspired by Tunisians, Egyptians declare a "day of rage" and fill town squares in January 2011.
Once people are digitally networked, two kinds of "
" information:
flow density
- the number of times that people hear and see events
emotional density
- how people experience others' reactions to and perceptions about the events
KONY 2012
Stanford sociologist Doug McAdam and his studies of 1960's civil rights efforts stressed
degree of personal connection
. "Participants were far more likely than dropouts to have close friends who were also going to Mississippi. High-risk activism, McAdam concluded, is
a 'strong-tie' phenomenon
Gladwell: Social media platforms "are built around
weak ties
. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with."
of activism do social media campaigns ask of their followers?
Social media avoids hierarchical organization; it builds networks, "which are the opposite (in structure and character) of hierarchies." Networks "aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus, and the
ties that bind people to the group are loose
Gladwell wrote that
Arab Spring.
Did those events change his views?
In-person communities have two advantages:
KONY 2012 reached the highest levels of American government.
When Gary Ackerman, U.S. House representative from New York, retired in 2012, he was asked what had changed since he was first elected in 1983.

“I think the people have
gotten dumber," he said.
McLuhan: "The medium is the message."
Gladwell: "The revolution will not be tweeted."
child soldiers
sex slaves
mutilation and murder
Full transcript