Social change is defined as any form of transformation in nature, in social institutions, social behavior, relations in the society and other public structures. Media plays a central role in this process by broadening spaces for participation. In the social media world, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are singled out as most prominent social media applications built specifically to give a platform to every individual voice, in their own choice of language and context. What’s common between all social media applications is that more than what the tool represents technically, the usage is what defines the true social character of the tool. Recently, these tools have been used for acts of advocacy which have changed different societies socially, economically and politically. Social media provides distinct advantages including the possibility for each individual to voice their opinions, it has been used for fast resource mobilization and community collaboration, as well as linking local initiatives to global audiences and vice versa.
However, looking closely at the role of social media in social change, we would conclude that it plays an important intermediary role in facilitating social change processes. But, if we go beyond the hype of new media technology and closely assess its potential role in social change we find that it is still insufficient in itself to bring about social change. With the support of social media, activists still need strategies on the ground and traditional outreach mechanisms to make change happen. For instance, although the “Occupy Wall Street” movement has a powerful message behind it, and has received a lot of publicity and managed to organize people online; it still lacks a specific strategy on how to move the demands forward.
The field of social media for social change is dominated with success cases. There is still lack of documentation that shows how social media was used and failed to facilitate social change processes. Thus to better understand the impact of social media and its impacts on social change it is critical that both success and failure cases are documented and closely analysed.
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