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