I wrote this write-up for a research journal during May 2012. I am now publishing it on my blog in parts.
2011 MASS UPRISINGS: SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS - PART-VII
HAIL THE INTERNET ACTIVISM – LONG LIVE COMMUNICATION
So again to the pertinent question – what did the social media do and how it did it? Online movements couldn’t have achieved anything until there was mobilization on the ground and there could not be scaled up mobilization until it got a scaled up flow of information in the real time. Social media did this. It has created an ‘INFORMATION SUPER HIGHWAY’ that survived and is growing thanks to the unique blend of communication and technology that comes in-built with the new media.
Its Wikipedia definitions conveys it aptly, “New media holds out a possibility of on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, creative participation and community formation around the media content. Another important promise of new media is the "democratization" of the creation, publishing, distribution and consumption of media content. Another aspect of new media is the real-time generation of new, unregulated content.”
Simple fundamental for not so viscous connectivity: From Lasswell’s theory of communication to DeSanctis and Poole’s Adoptive Structuration Theory, every model talks about the importance of feedback.
In fact, feedback in real time can revolutionize the flow of communication. Mass media like electronic media or the print carriers limit this potential by restricting the timeliness parameter of feedback. Also mainstream media is more vulnerable to regulations and indirect controls.
Mobile phone communication has changed much and has helped in expediting the process of feedback exchanges when combined with the traditional mass media outfits but this exchange is individualistic in nature and requires considerable time and effort to form a significantly larger chain to aid positively when it comes to mobilizing opinion on an issue. Issue of regulation remains here as well.
The viscosity of channels that impedes the process of communication, where multiple feedbacks are received and relayed in real time to get exponentially scaled up projections in less time, remains.
The Internet with its social networking tools and mobile Internet applications fills this gap. Fear of regulation is least here as the technology to monitor the content or manipulate the bandwidth is still beyond the reach of many of the nations where change is happening. It makes the channels less viscous by giving alternate ways to keep the flow of information on. It was done by the activists in Egypt. It is being done by the supporters of the ‘Occupy’ movement.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/