At the end of Ted’s lecture, four perspectives on the role of social media in activism were given and briefly defined. I decided to try and elaborate on these for my blog and discuss where I think my viewpoint fits in.
The first was the ‘idealist’ or ‘cyber-utopian’ perspective, which believes that the web ushers in revolution when used for activism as it is the ultimate force of empowerment by individuals. A similar perspective is called ‘idealist 2.0.’, which elaborates a little more on ‘idealism’ and believes that the reason that the internet is revolutionary is because it’s a new medium and therefore can convey new types of messages to help revolutions – this terminology was harder to find a source for other than Ted’s lecture, but it seems to be used in conjunction with the idea of Web 2.0 which talks about the web’s facilitation of greater connectivity and collaboration.
The third is the ‘critical’ or ‘cyber-realist’ perspective, where the internet is viewed as a good organisational tool but should not be considered to be the major driving force behind a revolution. Perhaps the most vocal holder of this position is Malcolm Gladwell, who points out that many revolutions have taken place without the use of social media. The last is the ‘questioning’ or ‘conspiratorial’ perspective, which believes that there is some sort of conspiracy about social media and who runs it. For example, there are people who believe that Facebook was started by the CIA to gather everyone’s personal details.
I discuss where I think I fit in in my Soundcloud.