And as with many other posts in this fantastic blog 😉 we see a link between the invention of the online world, and connectivity creating reach.
Cyberactivism, like the protests of old, are a coming together of a group of people, whose strong belief in something, or a drive for change, sees them uniting.
Groups with a cause used to come together in front of government buildings, proposed forest clearing or, for example: the Steritech anti-irradiation camp.
The anti-irradiation camp became a seven-month saga, with protesters creating a shanti town across the road from the Steritech plant. Their goal was to stop the irradiation of food before going to market. Unfortunately, their message became lost within the mire of mess and destruction of 100 people camped out in one small spot for seven months. I’m sure you can imagine the site. The public became immune to their message, and instead thought the protesters a disgusting burden on the land they sought to protect.
This is where the new wave of Cyberactivism comes in strong. It has a far larger reach than physical protests, where only a small group speak out. Cyberactivists can jump into any stream within the online world, connecting to groups, individuals and those who’d never thought to protest. Bringing together all the armchair protesters, and giving them a way of expressing beliefs they’d previously been too afraid, or too busy to voice.
Cyberactivism, at its most basic, is still a way for people to reach out and be heard. The main difference between the old and new forms of protesting is the reach. With the invention of many forms of social media, a large collection of “netizens” (Ayers, McCaughey 2003) with a cause, have a far larger reach, demographic and sustainability. Once the term ‘Protest’ brought out the “oh no, those damn hippies are at it again”, from some of the population. We now see a different response. Big companies and governments take notice and are held to account for actions by enormous groups of protesters. They are able to bring to light the cause greater then a few individuals holding up homemade signs. This bring important issues into peoples living rooms, showing, through online means, a way for people to get involved at the clink of a few buttons.
With the differing causes online, we now see things like e-activsts creating easier ways for people to lodge their option. Such as e-petitions that can be filled out and emailed to those in charge. Instantly sending thousands of protests, without the loss of message.
Thanks Ben for being patient with me as I jumped in the deep end of Social Media 🙂
Ayers, Michael D., McCaughey, Martha 2003, Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice, Routledge, New York.
Carry, V., Onyett, J. 2006, Protest, Cyberactivism and New Social Movements: The Reemergence of the Peace Movement Post (/11, Social Movements Studies, Vol. 5, pp. 229-249.
Illia, L., 2003, Passage to Cyberactivism: How Dynamics of Activism Change, Journal of Public Affairs, issue 3, pp. 326-337.
McNutt, J., Menon, G. 2008, The Rise of Cyberactivism: Implications for the Future of Advocacy in the Human Services, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, vol. 89, pp. 33-38.
Sandoval-Almazan, R., Gil-Garcia, J.R. 2013, Cyberactivism Through Social Media: Twitter, YouTube, and the Mexican Political Movement, System Sciences, Hawaii, pp. 1704-1713.
Taubenfeld, R. 2010, Food Irradiation and Australia, A Brief History of the Campaign, Food Irradiation Watch – Australia, accessed August 6, http://www.foodirradiationwatch.org.