With the power of the internet, almost anyone can become an activist with just a little creativeness. All you need is a computer and some social media. The concept of protesting has greatly changed from before the internet was created and widely used until now. People used to stand outside holding sings and yelling. As written in the Economist, “Demonstrators are a tiresome lot. They block streets and clog traffic, costing other people time and money; they divert police attention, draining budgets and perhaps helping criminals.” As protests progressed over the days, word would spread by mouth and the protesters would eventually gain force in numbers. With the internet, the way people gather and execute protests is completely different now. Instead of gathering by word of mouth, protestors are told over the internet about where to be and what time. This is much more effective and timely. There are several positive and negative aspects that also come along with this new method known as activism.
The internet has opened a whole new set of doors to the concept of protesting. Several social networking sites are used by the activist community like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and blogs. With the high amounts of traffic on these sites, it makes them the perfect spot to send a message to large amounts of people. By sending these messages over high trafficked areas, activists are able to gain mass resistance in short periods of time. For example, the Kony 2012 video had the quickest amount of views in the shortest amount of time reaching in the hundreds of thousands and eventually millions. Another example of activism prevailing is with SOPA. Activists were able to oppose the bill and put it to rest.
There are also some major disadvantages to the way protests and activism are being shaped by the internet. For example in Facebook Activism: Lots of Clicks, but Little Sticks, Monica Hesse indicates that Facebook activism is” the trendy process by which we do good by clicking often.” She then goes on later to describe that there is little commitment to just clicking a button behind a computer and even though thousands of people may be clicking, statistically nothing comes of the online protest. In addition, the problem of anonymity arises. This is especially going to be a problem in Taiwan where they just legalized human flesh search engines when it is in the “public’s interest”. In addition, anonymity is especially an issue with the hacktivist group, Anonymous. Since their identity is unknown, this group basically does what they please. In general, most of what they do is in the interest of the public, but there have been some instances where they step over the line.
In conclusion, protesting has taken a new turn towards online activism since Web 2.0. Although there are many positives and negatives to this new form of protesting, it is making an impact on society as it can been seen in the news and online daily. Even though protesting has taken on this new form, it is still effective, there is just another set of problems to work to solve.