And the experts say…

May 14, 2011

The current education crisis doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We have seen various forms of civic mobilization  from the public to to show their dismay for decisions that elites have made.  The public has engaged in protests, sit- ins, and even rallies but what if the public takes an unconventional approach to civic mobilization?  What if the public  used social media as a mean for activism? Experts imply that using Social media in this form can be two things-good or bad!

According to Malcolm Gladwell in his New Yorker article Small Change, using social media as a form of activism is weak. there often tends to be a type of disconnect between the activist and the actual “cause”, “where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools” (Gladwell 3). With this being said, it might be safe to assume that engaging in activism just got easier. He continues by stating that the apparent disconnect between the two, actually sparks more “activism”. “social networks are effective at increasing participation by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires”  (Gladwell 5). With just a click of a button an individual can join a group of their interest and virtually sign petitions that support the groups’ interest.   Is it fair to call social medias revolutionary?

Shirky, however, asserts social media is revolutionary. A couple of years back, when social media was at its wakening a man by the name of Evan Guttman made a social media statement. Reacting to his friends stolen sidekick, Evan made up a web page that got an ample amount of public and media attention. Evan’s fan base helped out by posting a video of the thiefs’ house as well as her pictures, even offering advice on how to tackle police bureaucracy. The NYPD was even involved in the case of the missing phone. Eventually after a short ten days he achieved locating his friends’ phone as well as forming a social movement. As stated by Shirky, this would have never been possible if not for the social media; “it’s unlikely that Evan could have achieved it ten years ago…because neither the tools he used not the social structures he relied on were in place ten years ago”(Shirky 11). As he eloquently illustrated, social media has made it easier for the public to socialize as well as engage in civic mobilization.

Zuckerman has also voiced the advantages of the social media.  Zuckerman explains that the social media allows the central public to become their own reporters. It gives individuals the opportunity to illustrate events that occur in their communities, that otherwise would not be reported by a popular main stream media. If this is so, why shouldn’t it be tried with this current education crisis?

What parents and school official should do is create a centralized form of social media.  In the website, they would post comments, pictures, and videos of the current events on education. Dates and times of protests would be posted so that every member of the website is well informed of the happenings. This would also be a great method to branch out to other websites; have it connected to their facebook and twitter accounts. Hey it’s only a thought.


One Response to “And the experts say…”

  1. mmcmediaprof said

    A very thoughtful thought! My guess is that groups are using such social media. It might be interesting to do some web-surfing for some of the groups you have seen organizing in NYC around these issues and look at the blogs, facebook pages, twitter feeds, etc., that they have set up. It would also be great (for the paper as much as for the blog) if you could contact one or two of the organizers of such actions and find out what tools they use, and how these protests are really organized!)

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