We live in a time where polarization of opinions is growing. Expressions of xenophobia and misogony are getting more and more normalized. Based on the premise that positive (mediated) contact with ‘others’ reduce prejudice, where are the digital initiatives that try to bridge across differences within the public sphere? Is Swedish activist group #jagärhär one of them?
One of the first lectures I listened to when I started studying Communication for Development about a year ago was from professor Silvio Waisbord (2016). He posed some questions that haven’t left me since then. He talked about how the mediated public sphere of today is characterized by “shattering of the public”, meaning that the public is no longer one single public body, but many, and in many cases disconnected from each other. Polarization is a fact. He pointed at phenomena like digital narcissism and echo chamber communication where all you see and read confirms your own world view. Based on the premise that positive (mediated) contact with ‘others’ reduce prejudice, Waisbord called for digital initiatives that try to bridge across differences within the public sphere. But he did not have one single example so far. That beat me down.
Continue reading “Digital Activism – ingroup bonding or bridging across differences? The case of #jagärhär”
Six degrees of separation is a phantasm! We might be six degrees apart from people that are living under the same social conditions that we are or with people that share our values and ideas. Although technology has improved our ability to communicate, it is evident that socioeconomic issues related to class, race and ideas, are creating division between people, which is hindering our complete unity.
Many of you may be familiar with the title Six Degrees of Separation, as it is the name of a famous play written by John Guare, and also the title of a movie staring actor Will Smith. They are both based on the theory that we live in a small world, where we are all connected, by a chain of six acquaintances. The initial idea of the Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation – A Phantasm of Digital Utopianism”
My post discusses a variety of social media uses in the context of the ongoing Rohingya crisis: it can be seen as a tool for organizing public support and advocating for humanitarian causes as well as strengthening political leadership or implementing censorship on highly sensitive topics.
As a Communication for Development student I am shy to admit I was not aware of the severity and extent of the Rohingya refugee crisis until this September when Nobel Laureates urged the UN Security Council to intervene in putting an end to human rights abuses and brutal violence in Myanmar. Furthermore, more than 400 thousand people supported this humanitarian cause by signing an online petition on Change.org. In addition to this, my Facebook friends have massively started customizing their profile pictures with a frame that reads Stop Killing Rohingya Muslims.
Continue reading “Digital solidarity with the Rohingya refugees”
New Media generates opportunities for people to share and exchange experiences, discuss ideas and opinions, learn languages etcetera in a new pace and through new tools. So what is the potential of this new media when used for development and social change?
As we have mentioned in the introduction post, many of us think of social media when we talk about new media activism, which is adequate as social media on a societal level creates exceptional opportunities for information flow, emotional expression, and social influence or advocacy (Lewis et al, 2014:1). For me, the deduction of this is solidarity.
A unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group. Continue reading “Is new media activism an illusion of new solidarity?”
Most of us probably have an idea of what new media activism, or digital activism, is and what implications it has on society and development. In this blog we will give you some contemporary examples of online activism and discuss its consequenses. But first, let us tell you what is “new” with new media and how it can be used for activism and development!
Welcome to our blog! We hope you will stay a while and that you will come back soon:)
We are four students from the Communication for Development Master Program at Malmö University and this blog is part of a course called “New Media, ICT and Development”. Continue reading “New Media Activism – what are we talking about?”