Online participation and public life (social movements (organized effort…
Online participation and public life
provides a more transparent arena
accessed by users more broadly and easily
Less ability for gatekeepers to control
no constraints on the amount of information
anyone can speak
rise of a range of new informal forms of civic engagement and political action
major contributor to the public sphere
alternative source of news and information communication
Twitter and Facebook facilitate broad-based participation of ordinary people in public life and political events.
Traffic on the web travels between a small number of powerful nodes
Digital skills play a role
Cultural capital to understand public issues and politics
difference between speaking and being heard online
Echo chamber effect: views mirrored, no real discussion
selective exposure: people are able to selectively expose themselves, narrow range of information and ideas.
organizational structures are central
structural requirements that are important for
substantial organization and strong leadership is necessary for a social movement to persist through time
proliferation of ICT use
individuals connected through personal networks have become more effective in organizing collective actions
structural changes within existing organizations
loosely organized informal groups increase in numbers
personal networks play an increasingly important role
ICTs provide the resources allowing many-to-many communication between individuals
individuals are becoming more empowered --> retain info, communicate with ease
ICTs --> increased engagement of individuals
organized effort by a significant number of people to change (or resist change in) some major aspect or aspects of society
organized forms of collective behavior
supporting civil rights, gay rights, trade unionism, environmentalism, feminism
not themselves formal organizations or political parties, but are looser networks of individuals and groups that may embrace a number of such organizations”
less economically or class-oriented
more focused on social changes in lifestyle, cultural or identity-related issues
often issue-oriented and ad-hoc as opposed to ideological.
ecentralized, diffused, networked organizations with considerable local autonomy
move away from nationally based issues and political structures and are often more transnational in focus
Information and communication technologies
to do more with less
Increased visibility --> increased arena for reach
organizations are able to speak directly to both core members and casual non- members
Transformation from centralized bureaucratic structures into a more fluid model of organization
Increased access to political information
Increased accessibility and ease of publication--> also produce
The potential for anonymity
freedom of speech and association
Political engagement on social media
53% of U.S. adults have engaged in some form of political or social-minded activity on social media in the past year.
attitudes towards social mediatend to vary widely by racial or ethnic groups
Minorities --> more likely to find these platforms personally important
actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause
requiring little time or involvement
signing an online petition or joining a campaign group
social media users are usually dismissed as slacktivists.
large periphery of low commitment participants to spread the word out!
Leadership and collectivity
strategically framing protest activity and connecting previously separate individuals and groups in common action.
Small groups of activists, centrally positioned in social media- facilitated networks
connective leadership: revolves around inviting and connecting rather than commanding and proclaiming
Mass of individuals quickly comes together, but can fall apart at any moment
For many activists it is important to remain anonymous, whereas social media platform owners have a strong interest in knowing users’ real identities.
exchange information in real time.
speeds up the exchange of information between activists
real-time and ubiquitous forms of protest communication
reduce information asymmetries between protesters and police
Personalization and virality
Social media platforms personalize the user experience
Through algorithms, platforms serve personalized content
Social media promote viral communication over sustained long-term public attention for specific topics.
Two-step flow of communication
Katz and Lazarsfeld
media influences the masses via intermediate layer --> opinion leaders
ability to predict the influence of media messages
Flow of Communication on Twitter
Information passes through intermediaries via:
tweets of URL's
Hashtags are important for reach --> through retweets and use of hashtags, certain topics can reach a wider audience
Emerging counterpublic networks
"made up of private people gathered together as a public and articulating the needs of society with the state"
networked public sphere: "increasing freedom individuals enjoy to participate in creating information and knowledge"
discursive arenas that develop in parallel to the official public spheres
where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter discourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs”
networked counterpublics: counterpublics in the online world
Twitter and other forms of social media