Oct 15

Refugee memes and communication misuse

By Julen Figueras

matrix meme

In my previous post, I wrote about Facebook posts, comments and the (lack of) debates that emerge from them. Another recurrent piece of communication not only on Facebook but on Social Media in general is that of the memes. For those not familiar with the term, memes are units that carry ideal, symbols or practices that are transmitted through writing, speech and other ways with a mimicked theme. Although this definition from Wikipedia is specific enough, when it comes to the Internet and our current 9gag culture, memes tend to be (albeit not exclusively) images with an attached text. These images relate to diverse Internet cultures and to audiovisual phenomena.

Continue reading →

Oct 15

The formation and regulation of discursive knowledge: Wikipedia

By Mindaugas Jocbalis


What is community power in new media? How does Wikipedia connect new media development to Habermas’ communicative rationality and Foucault’s diffusion of power and concept of metapower? Foucault argued that ‘power is everywhere’ and is dispersed throughout several institutions, but with strong issues of social exclusion. However, the centrality of this was debated. Habermas, on the other hand, presented a view that community action checks and challenges political power.

In a discussion on modernity, Habermas (1984, p. 3) gave a view stating that “modernity revolts against the normalizing functions of tradition; modernity lives on the experience of rebelling against all that is normative”. It is here that we can find the debate on community information networks as new media expressions of retaliation against traditional information sources. And interplays between power and knowledge happen at the level where social involvement reaches a peak in transforming a global network into a library of linguistic data, debate and argument.

Continue reading →

Oct 15

Is it about (good) news or real change? – journalism and social media storytelling of development

By Isabel Marques da Silva


Good, positive, constructive or solutions-based journalism is a trend that has been on the rise in the the last two decades, in parallel with an increased use of internet platforms and logics for the production and consumption of stories taking place in the so-called developing world.

But what does it say about mobilisation for action and social change when the ‘alternative’ storytelling from journalists and/or citizens dissatisfied with the traditional, westernised and colonial point of view of that world, (creating for that purpose alternative blogs and ‘marginal’ news websites) evolves to also become a tool for Western development agents in their communication efforts, such as the journalistic awareness campaign “World’s Best News” by Danish aid agency DANIDA, (in cooperation with UN, 100 NGOs and 100 private companies) about the Millennium Development Goals?

What are the challenges for storytelling about development and appeals to mobilisation when pursuing new media trends and tools such as “Solutions Journalism Network”, “Positive News”, “Sparknews.com” and “Reporters d’Espoirs”? How are mainstream journalism organisations balancing their professional acquis with riding these new media trends, such as “Huffington Post’s” Positive News column or “The Guardian” Global Development section?

Continue reading →