When did the Internet become so Politically Active

Can I be the first to say, thank god this recent fad of organising protests/riots and stuff wasn’t around in 2005. Can you imagine if this technology was available when the Cronulla riots happened? It could have been a lot worse than what it was.

Imagine if this was the scene at Cronulla in 2005

December 11th 2005 was a dark day in this country, riots caused by hate and organised with text messages and word of mouth. “Hundreds of people, young men especially, gathered for a weekend protest. Their target and pretext were visitors from the culturally diverse suburbs to the west, and the need to defend their women and beaches in the face of such unwelcome incursions and behaviours.”(Goggin,2006) Now Imagine if these people had social media to organise these ‘protests’, hundreds could turn to thousands as people who might support their cause race towards Cronulla and join in the ‘fun.’

Social Media have given organisers tools in which to easily set up a protest as seen in Egypt recently. As we have seen in the news, People have made videos using their cameras at protests and uploaded them to YouTube, tweeted at the protests and used Facebook groups to gather support (I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Myspace page on it as well). It is easy to say these tools have been used effectively by organisers, who can now really be referred to as revolutionary leaders in a way. Their protests themselves have shown results; one major one is the resignation of Hosni Mubarak 18 days after the protests really kicked off on January 25th 2011.

This phenomenon is often known as the facebook/twitter revolution, however, I personally feel we have always had the means to create demonstrations (see Cronulla riots at the start for one) but the use of these tools have enhanced how major they have become. In the next 20 years, do you really feel that Facebook and Twitter will still be the main sites used to help organise these protests? I doubt it; the next big social media tool will be out and make it even easier for people to join in than now. If Australia can organise the Cronulla riots, can we organise like a Protest against Tony Abbott, I mean he is the worst thing since Hitler. ( use #SaveAustralia on twitter or something)

Reference list:

Image sourced from: https://cardaksviews.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/edce0-tahrir_square_25_jan.jpg

Goggin G, 2006, ‘SMS Riot: Transmitting Race on a Sydney Beach, December 2005,’ M/C Journal, Vol9, Issue 1, Viewed 12/10/2013, <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0603/02-goggin.php>

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One Response to When did the Internet become so Politically Active

  1. kurtphilpot says:

    I honestly am not surprised that political activism has quickly found its way online. Just like our conversation about the Long Tail of the internet, this technology allows a niche to be turned into a majority – it connects like minded people and brings them together. Aswell as this the internet can be used as a faster spread of information to get people physically on the ground of a protest. There is something truly inspiring about people power and the new ways we have found to make us stronger.

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