How is activism being shaped by the internet?
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Activism: Shaped by the Internet

Activism: Shaped by the Internet | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it

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.

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Anonymous protests outside Ohio court as rape trial begins

Anonymous protests outside Ohio court as rape trial begins | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
As a controversial rape trial begins in the small town of Steubenville, Ohio, Occupy activists and members of the hacktivist group Anonymous are demanding justice for the alleged victim.
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

Anonymous is an activist/hacktivist group that gets involved with touchy issues that affect large amounts of people.  For example, the Paypal/Visa/Discover incident, human rights, and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case.  Without them, many would not know what happened in Stuebenville.  The point where Anonymous stepped over the line was hacking into phone calls and online accounts of the boys involved in this case.  The law exists for a reason and Anonymous should not cross over that line.  If this type of incident happened twenty years ago (prior to internet being in almost all homes), most people would not even know it happened.  We can see the transformation over the years of activism because instead of just protesting outside the boy’s homes who committed the crime, Anonymous found proof posted on the internet and then shared it with the rest of the world. 

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Internet activism a growing concern for risk managers

Internet activism a growing concern for risk managers | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

Activism can sometimes be a large threat to corporations and businesses.  The group that potentially presents the most danger is Anonymous.  This group does not abide by laws, but rather just does what they feel is “right”.   Laws are in place for a reason, mainly because they are in the interest of the greater good of all to follow.  By Anonymous taking situations into their own hands they create dangerous and troublesome situations. 

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Kony 2012's online activism doesn't guarantee offline success

Kony 2012's online activism doesn't guarantee offline success | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
Kony 2012 has been one of the most publicised and shared campaigns, thanks to the power of social media. So why didn't it translate into offline action last week?
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

One example of online activism gone wrong is with the Kony 2012 campaign.  Dr. James Arvanitakis stated, “It's always incredibly difficult to convert "armchair activism" from the comfort of a computer screen into the real world.”  One mistake with this campaign is that activists posted of the public meetings a month before they actually occurred.  As a result, at the Sydney event location, 19,000 people committed online to showing up, but only a mere twenty-five made an appearance in person.  Once again, people commit online, which is easy, but when it’s time to actually put forth effort, few people want to go the extra mile.

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Iran clamps down on Internet activists | World | DW.DE | 01.03.2012

Iran clamps down on Internet activists | World | DW.DE | 01.03.2012 | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
The regime in Tehran is intensifying its persecution of Internet activists. Fearful of fresh protests as elections approach, a new cyber police force has increased surveillance of social networks and bloggers.
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

Luckily in the United States, we have the fourth amendment.  Sadly for Iranian people, so the internet can remain “pure”, activists are being persecuted for just speaking their mind about government elections.  These activists have helped fuel the Arab Spring.   Without these brave people, justice may never be found since the government is blocking sites like Yahoo, Google, and YouTube to minimize activism on the web.  Even with these restrictions, the Iranian people have found ways to get around the blocks so they can be heard.  The Iranian government should not be limiting these people’s freedom of speech.  It should be a basic right to peacefully protest online or offline. 

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Twitter, Facebook, and social activism

Twitter, Facebook, and social activism | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

Social media is a large contributor to the quick spreading of information on the internet.  It allows people the ability to post a message and have countless onlookers see it almost immediately.  Prior to Web 2.0, it took months to spread the word of a protest. For example, the protest at Woolworth’s.  It took over a month to reach forces in the thousands.   In contrast, with the aid of Twitter, thousands of people were able to quickly assemble and protest in Moldova against their communist government.  This protest was later named the Twitter Revolution.

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Everything is connected

Everything is connected | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
WHEN dozens of countries refused to sign a new global treaty on internet governance in late 2012, a wide range of activists rejoiced. They saw the treaty, crafted...
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

When the SOPA was originally introduced, much of the online community was furious.  Discussions started on blogs about how people were upset.  Once the fire was fueled, larger, well known, websites stepped in like Reddit, Tumblr, and Wikipedia.  In addition, activist groups like EEF and Public Knowledge joined forces with the single people of the online activist community.  The way that forces were united from just people complaining on blogs, then to larger companies, and established activist groups shows development of activism on the internet compared to just a normal protest on the street.   The internet helped people unite to fight against one common enemy, SOPA.

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Taiwan Legalizes Some Uses of "Human Flesh Search Engine"

Taiwan Legalizes Some Uses of "Human Flesh Search Engine" | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

The concept of a human flesh search engine is quite startling.  It all started with a woman stomping a cat to death with the heel of her shoe.  From then on, others have been searched out.  For example, a fourteen year old boy who gratified on ancient artifacts in China was another victim of a human flesh search engine.  With these examples, nothing good can come of people being hunted down by activists and made a mockery of.  Now, Taiwan is legalizing these searches if they are in the “public’s interest”.  Legalizing such an extreme behavior to “punish” people can lead but to nothing bad occurrences.  Human flesh search engines go around authority already in place like the police.  This is teaching people that it is alright to punish others and police should not be called upon.

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MR1382.ch8.pdf

Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

The internet plays a large role with activists upset about what the government is doing.   The internet allows for the easy collection of data and communication between groups of people.  Without the internet, activists would not be able to easily meet large amounts of people with the same common interests.  The internet allows for a gathering place for these people.

 

However, with the internet, also comes hackitivsts and cyberterriosts.  “ Hacktivists and cyberterrorists have not posed much of a real threat to date—but this could change if they acquire better tools, techniques, and methods of organization, and if cyberdefenses do not keep pace”, Dorothy E. Denning stated.  This is completely true with groups like Anonymous, and any other group that takes their skills to the extreme.   Hacktivists have the ability to send email bombs to policy makers.  This is when government officials receive countless emails from an automated system.  Other forms of protesting involve virtual sit-ins and blockades.  Acts like these would not be possible without the presence of the internet.

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Ory Okolloh on becoming an activist | Video on TED.com

Ory Okolloh tells the story of her life and her family -- and how she came to do her heroic work reporting on the doings of Kenya's parliament.
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

The inspiring thing about the internet is that it allows you to be who you want to be or do what you want to do.  Ory Okolloh grew up in a semi poverty stricken community and as a young child her parents could not always afford everything for her.  However, with an education and the power of the internet she was able to turn into a powerful activist for Africa.  She has developed sites to help make the African community aware of pertinent issues with the government.

 

Her story is inspiring because with perseverance, anyone can become an activist on the internet.  It does not require a large sum of money, or to know thousands of people in person.  All someone needs is passion for an issue and they have social networking tools like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook at their finger tips.

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In Times of Unrest, Social Networks Can Be a Distraction

In Times of Unrest, Social Networks Can Be a Distraction | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
A paper by a Yale graduate student, looking at the use of social media in Egypt’s protests, suggests that full Internet and cellphone connectivity can sometimes hinder collective action.
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

One can argue that social network sites are useful for activists to organize protests, but not much else.  They “make you passive, can sap your initiative, leave you content to watch the spectacle of life from your couch or smartphone.”  After the government of Egypt shutdown cell phone and internet service in Tahrir Square, protestors became more active on the front line.   It “forced more face-to-face communication, i.e., more physical presence in the streets.”  This led to more massive amounts of people gathering and stronger forces in numbers that could actually do something besides click buttons behind a computer.

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Facebook Activism: Lots of Clicks, but Little Sticks

Facebook Activism: Lots of Clicks, but Little Sticks | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
Facebook activism, the trendy process by which we do good by clicking often, was in its full glory last week after the death of Iranian student Neda Agha Soltan, killed by gunfire in the streets of Tehran.
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

 

Does social media lessen the effects of activism?  After reading this article, that is what I am left wondering.  To be an activist online, all someone has to do is click “like” or “join” or possibly retweet a post.  Since this is so incredibly easy, and easy usually comes with little results, social media may be reducing the effectiveness of activism.  Only approximately 5% of activist groups actually take action after they have gained number in forces online.  If people actually joined together in person, the thousands of clicks online would be a lot more apparent in person during a protest.

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The Open-Sourcing of Political Activism: How the internet and networks help build resistance | openDemocracy

The Open-Sourcing of Political Activism: How the internet and networks help build resistance | openDemocracy | How is activism being shaped by the internet? | Scoop.it
Katelyn Pendergast's insight:

Due to being able to gain large amounts of resistance via the internet for a protest in UK about tuition, mass arrests occurred because the police could not handle the peaceful protestors.  This just shows the potential of the internet and how it helps activists around the world. In addition, this article points out the fact that this activist group needs to keep momentum and the internet is the best place to keep that going.

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