Cyberculture and Activism

For as long as I can remember, there have always been pressing issues that are highly publicized across the world. History shows us the effect that activism can have on people and how rapidly a message can be spread. Be it the persecution of the African-American being highlighted in protests such as sit ins, or the filming of Martin Luther’s speeches, as well as Riefenstahl’s filming of Hitler’s ceremonies or most recently the campaign to take down Joseph Kony; activist campaigns have always proved effective.

With the development of social media now seen as the norm, campaigns have an extra element that did not exist in Hitler or MLK’s eras. Using social media, Jason Russell and the ‘Invisible children organization’, created the above video to spread a message. Within days the video was viral and ‘Kony’ was the word on everyone’s lips. Many argue that with social media and cyberculture, news is manipulated and biased in order to attract a following for the cause. As well as this the issue of safety has also been raised as many believe that social media allows organizations and people can be traced more easily. I personally disagree with these arguments.

kony

First of all, yes social media can help highlight one side of an issue, but it isn’t stopping those on the other side to highlight their points either! Social media is a free for all medium, and everyone is entitled to address certain things and create content to attract others to their cause. Manipulation would involve banning opposing arguments, and this is not the case. Secondly, yes social media may allow for the easier tracking of people and organizations, but isn’t that what activism is all about to a certain extent?

megaphone

The main goal of Kony 2012 was to track down a fugitive on the run in remote Central Africa. Unfortunately he remains free, but he is cornered and as the LRA have been abolished, the authorities are closing in on his whereabouts. Because of the viral video, Kony was no longer unidentifiable, his face and crimes were exposed, leaving him with very few options. Social media and activism are two powerful forces together, this new development is now widely accepted and is effectively received, handing power to the people to make changes for the better.

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