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Social Media Monitoring becomes “next big thing in law enforcement”?

Author: Erika Konovalova

Nowadays the meaning of the New Media could be uncertain, as it strongly depends on what we are going to talk about: just about the internet or about the new technical devices. According to Leah Lievrouw, we characterize new media as information and communication technologies (ICT) and their social contexts, which contain few important elements: “(I) information and communication technologies and their social contexts, which include three main components; (II) the material artifacts or devices that enable and extend people’s abilities to share meaning; (III) the communication activities that people engage in as they develop those divided and the larger social arrangements that people create and build around the artifacts”(Lievrouw, 2011, p. 7) Furthermore, relying on the definition by the author of the book and the fact that both New Media activism and mass mediasystems are growing rapidly, we might have to admit the fact that both ICTs and New Media are considered as valuable in a matter of development and social change.
One may also say that New Media, such as the Internet, is discussed as an inexpensive and powerful tool that gives to everyone an opportunity to build communities and a possibility to gain visibility and voice. But on the other hand, the breakthrough of the New Media Activism has raised few problems connected with the privacy and security, political participation and freedom. (Lievrouw, 2011, p. 2) Let me draw your attention to the fact how Internet freedom is being emerged during last few years when Facebook as well as Twitter became extremely popular.

For instance, “Mr. Cooper QC’s warning comes after a New York court ordered Twitter to hand over messages posted on the site by a demonstrator belonging to the Occupy Wall Street movement in America. Malcolm Harris, 23, is accused of disorderly conduct after he was arrested on Brooklyn Bridge during a protest last October”.(Rawlinson, 2012) In other words, both the police and governments worldwide are monitoring key activists online and becoming shrewder when it comes to social media like Twitter, YouTube and certainly Facebook.

I believe the police force will keep on analyzing the Facebook accounts of attestants who they want to weaken, as they want to find any evidence from any source. It is typical evidence that New Media diffused into our everyday work and life. (Lievrouw, 2011, p. 5)

Dilemma remains is it a so-called “right move” to secure the public world or is it a reason to be afraid loosing our freedom while using the New Media tool Internet?


1. Activists warned to watch what they say as social media monitoring becomes ‘next big thing in law enforcement’ (2012) The Independent
2. Alternative and Activist New Media2011Oxford: Polity Press

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Is Facebook a tool for communication, Revolution and anarchy to social change


Nowadays technology has made the news of global events, on opposite sides of the world, available in just few minutes.   Technology is the only platform where a lot of different options can appear to please everyone.  But in this forum we will focus on the use of Facebook.
Facebook was the ‘secret arm’ used to create a huge revolution in Egypt.  Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26 years-old common citizen woman (not someone in the field of science or military), wrote on her page, “People, I am going to Tahrir Square”.   That Facebook status became a snowball that resulted in a movement to oust Egyptian president, Hosny Mubarak.
The voice of thousands of people in the streets, demanding the end of the political power of Mubarak, that had ruled the country for the last 30 year, were listened to for the first time,  however where did theyfind the courage to do that? Why did they have to wait such a long time? The fear was the same, what was different now?
“Activists in New Social Movements tend to live their lives in a way that reflects their political, social, and ethical values, to engage in movement actions and commitments according to issues of the moment” (Lievrouw 2011, P.153)
Each time that someone posts something on facebook, such as a thought-provoking article, video, or event, it results in a chain reaction that calls others to mobilize.
We have become an active side of the communication.   The media is the tool, but change is in our hands.  “Social and cultural change has become even more so a process that involve changing attitudes, values and behaviors, heart and minds of citizens”.  (Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. 2007, p. 218).   This example, a few lines on Facebook, that generated a mass revolution, with people on the streets claiming their rights.   In fact, it made a difference.
The new social media is indeed a powerful tool for social movements.   It is not a weapon, but a tool.   It cannot create anarchy.   It is just the mirror of a society that claims for a change.

(Karina B.)


Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N.  (2007) Reclaiming the media: communication rights and democratic media roles.

Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press

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Facebook revolution and the resignition of the Bulgarian PM

As a pure Bulgarian, who happened to be raised all over the world, I would like to point out that my homeland is amongst the most beautiful and culture-rich countryside’s one will ever have the chance to visit, this however does not change the fact that as an EU member state Bulgaria does not stand out with much in terms of policies, diplomacy, politics, social life, well-fear, and development. With the aforementioned in mind, let us draw your attention to the fact that the resignation of the Bulgarian Prime Minister has been a fact in more than 25 days now. This evidently led to the resignation of the entire parliament.

The above unfolded rather fast with major country protests which were initiated, organized and discussed primarily in the social network Facebook. Similar, to an extent, to the work of Data and the Situationist International as described in the book Alternative and Activist New Media, which combined radical policies with provocative new uses of media, performance, and language, the Facebook profile of every Bulgarian around the word turned into major discussion platform with various comments, posts and statements based on the unfolding event and every step of it. This concept of mediation is not alien to the world of New Media Activism, as “to some extend the sense of interactivity derives from the networked, point-to-point architecture of new media system. Rather than broadcasting, the immediacy, responsiveness and social presence of information” (Lievrouw, Leah, 2011:13). Further, as discussed in the book, the networked architecture of new media is also designed to allow a variety of technologies such as telephone, recordings, video, and text documents and users to connect and disconnect from the social network, as a different uses and purposes require.

As mentioned in Times of the Technoculture. From the information society to the virtual life, without a doubt the last quarter of the 20th century has witnessed the most rapid technological revolution that historical transformation has ever known, which over time led to the definition of mediation as explored in Alternative and Activist New Media  “  can be understood in both senses and words, i.e., the use of technological channels to extant or enhance communication, and the interpersonal process participation or intervention in the creation and sharing”.  Hand in hand with the significance of the digital revolution and with time, globalization, the need for development and social interaction, social networks as Facebook became constant part of our lives and everyday communication.

As “science, technology and industrialization have had unfortunate social and cultural consequences” (Robins K., Webster F., 1999:25) the use of Facebook made self expression, freedom of speech even more free as the user can provides their thoughts in the form of posts, comments along with video or text materials in various ongoing discussions and created groups. The slight difference here is that user posts/comments after carefully selecting the flow of word choice, after having the opportunity to think and analyze the situation. In the case of the Bulgarian parliament and its PM, the theory of New Media Activism proved its sufficiency and added yet another milestone to its development.

When describing this event which had been “born” on the social network Facebook, we should not neglect the relationship between three concepts – media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence. As described in Convergence Culture, where the old and the new media collide, “None of us can know everything; each of us knows something; we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills…. Collective intelligence can be seen as an alternative source of media power.”

We do not see much comments or posts under the e-media on the various sites, as we can see an overflow of posts and comments on platforms such as Facebook. The changing technoscope of new media activism can no longer consider your comment inappropriate and take further action to remove it; as that would mean that your personal opinion is “inappropriate” and the participatory culture irrelevant. In the world we live in such conclusion could even be considered inappropriate, which (who knows) may lead into other group creation and into yet another social disaster, which has started on the grounds of someone’s disappointment of something.


  1. Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press
  2. Robins, Kevin and Webster, Frank (1999) Times of the Technoculture. From the information society to the virtual life. London: Routledge.
  3. Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture. MIT Press 2005


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Culture Jamming


The term “cultural jamming” was first used in 1984 by the collage band Negativland to describe billboard alteration and other forms of media sabotage (Dery 2010). Culture jamming is defined as “the manipulation of the mass media by artists and activists. The intent, in most cases, is to criticize the media’s manipulation of reality, lampoons consumerism, or question corporate power” (“Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought,” 2000). Culture jamming can be analyzed as an instance of political activism and a social movement, depending from the thematic structure of culture, place and identity.

Lievrouw defined culture jamming as one of five different genres in New Media Activism. Also Lievrouw introduces alternative computing, participatory journalism, mediated mobilization and commons knowledge in New Media Activism (Lievrouw 2011:19).

According to Dery, culture jammers are united by the shared experience of media and consumer culture, by a struggle for a ‘radically pluralistic society’, and by true freedom of expression.

Culture jamming can be form of political protest. Internet and specifically Facebook, Twitter and You Tube are the most used tools of social media, however these social networks jammers can send different reviews in communicating messages to organize the protests.

One example for using Facebook and Twitter was in Iranian election protests in June in 2009. Protestants were fighting against victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Iranian presidential election. Protestants were supporting opposition candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. The protests were in response to the official election result of the incumbent conservative prime minister re-election.

Iran has one of the most extensive Internet  systems in the world and is marked by aggressive online censorship policies.  Iran’s government has shut down access to Facebook in the run-up to the country’s elections in June. Internet surfers in Iran claim that the site was banned because supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi were using Facebook to disseminate the candidate’s positions (Iran blocks Facebook,” 2009). Facebook was used by protestants and activists to organize big and massive political street protest. Also, Iranian government blocked some news websites and mobile phone services including text messaging.

New Media Activism and cultural jamming represents the practice of struggling for change and can be fueled by reactionary tendencies and aims, as well as progressive (Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. 2007:217). Social networks can be very useful and powerful tools for social and cultural movement and progress.



  1.  Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press
  2. Cammaerts, B. and Carpentier, N. (eds) (2007) Reclaiming the media: communication rights and democratic media roles. Intellect: Bristol, UK
  3. Dery, Mark (2010) New Introduction and revisited edition of Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs
  4. Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought. (2000) (3 ed.). London: Haper Collins Publishers.
  5. Iran blocks Facebook. (2009, Sunday, 24 May 2009, 11:17). Sunday, 24 May 2009, 11:17. Retrieved Oct, 14 2009 
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Participatory Journalism practices in the Media and Civil Society

Nowadays the use of the Facebook is more than a photo album or a site where we can share social events, as we have seen Facebook is a tool for communication. Is a channel where people can share news and even more, they can comment and create news.

But the use of technology ICT is more common when it comes to represent an alternative way to participatory journalism. This tool, which in many cases is use by amateurs, has become a focal point to participation and production of news “online”.

“Citizen journalism has been defined as –People without professional journalism training (using) the tools of modern technologies”  (Lievrouw, 2011).  Now the question is..How serious are these channels?  Are we becoming journalists just because we publish a new, we write our ideas?

Everyone has a story, but not everyone wants to be a journalist or a revolutionary.  What we are seeing are citizens that are playing an active role in the society.  Participatory journalism is an interactive action, where unorganized people become an activist in many ways.

The contribution of this new trend is that through participatory journalism the concepts and characteristics of traditional journalism are changing.  Agents of change are making their participation visible to the world, participatory democracy is getting a new concept and it started being supported by professional journalists and formal media.

This change in the perception of what is participatory journalism has been the focal point of many critics.  “Traditional press still has an indispensable role to play as the key gatekeeper, agenda-setter and mediator between the people and their governments and other powerful institutions”. (Lievrouw, 2011).

Traditional press has shown a gap between private and public interests where the manipulation of the information has been proved.  What participatory journalism wants to prove is that there is always one new, but many ways to cover it.

Karina B.


Lievrouw, Leah (2011) Alternative and Activist New Media. Oxford: Polity Press

The Social Media Revolution: Exploring the impact on Journalism and New Media Organizations.


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