How does social media play a part in protesting?
Since the dawn of the different social medias, more and more people are able to connect with each other through simple clicks online. Quite soon the public sphere within the cyber net came to understand the power of writing, sharing and hash tagging online. This is a space where people could express themselves and start “hashtivism”, a form of protesting online. The Black Lives Matter movement came into being by linking the unjust justice system towards black people in the states and linking that to #blacklivesmatter. This is a protest against authorities who abused their power and vigilantes who shot innocent black peoplewhile getting away with minimal punishment. Now, how does social media contribute to the protests and is it a sufficient enough form of protest?
Social media is a great tool in order to spread information fast and without costs, to a large number of people. By putting a hashtag into a statement, it connects all people who look up the hashtag in the relevant context. By sharing a statement quickly on facebook bares its own cons to protest media. It’s might give the illusion of somebody doing enough by simply sharing. Sharing is a good start in which to spread information and get people together for a physical protest. However, social media alone could not have made too much of a change. I think had it not been for massive physical protests in Ferguson, the movement would not have had as big of an effect overall.
In Stay Woke – Black Lives Matter (Peabody and Laurens Grant, 2017), we see how the movement came to be. It all started with a response to a Facebook post (See picture below)
However, the moment really took off to a movement when the video footage of police brutality and killing of the innocent black man Eric Garner (Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement documentary (2016)) went viral.
Social media played a huge role during the physical protest in Ferguson. People were tweeting in solidarity from the Arab spring in how to treat eyes after tear gas.
It connected people across the globe and benefitted people on the battlefield. Tweeting live also lets us see how the protests are unfolding as they are happening, spreading the word on the spot without any control over what is allowed to be shown.
Social media is great for forming big groups with a common goal, but would have trouble in the future since “it has sidestepped some of the traditional tasks of organizing.” (Zeynep Tufekcias, xxiii). Hence why the Black Lives Matter is now a network as well (24, Alicia Garza). The #blacklivesmatter keeps the movement alive on a grass-root level in the public sphere and the network itself keeps it organised.
“Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement documentary (2016).” Youtube, Uploaded by Manufacturing Intellect, 8 April 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIoYtKOqxeU.
Tufekci, Zeynep. “Introduction”, Twitter and Teargas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. 2017, pp. xxi-xxxi.
Garza, Alicia. “Black Love-Resistance and Liberation” Race, Poverty & the Environment, Vol. 20, No. 2, Alive! Strategies for transformation (2015), pp. 21-25, www.jstor.org/stable/43873216, Accessed 5 December 2018.
missy-magazine.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/DSC_7426.jpg. Accessed 5 December 2018.