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When, Where And How Are Social Media Important For Political Change ?

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Par   •  24 Février 2012  •  434 Mots (2 Pages)  •  1 572 Vues

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Generally, social media do not create a popular debate : a person who is just involved in a cause on the internet will have few chances to raise the issue to the political sphere. This does not mean that social media are useless. They are a way to spread information or a specific opinion, and can be important if there is no other media doing this. Social media are also accountable because they help to organize, to gather people for a demonstration for instance. Anyway, they are tools which help to reach some goals.

For a few years, social media have been gaining more and more importance in all societies whose people can use internet. When people can not share their thoughts, in countries where newspapers and other media are not independent, social networks can be a way for people to express their difficulties, to talk with people who share the same views. In China for instance, even if Facebook and Twitter are forbidden, it would be not surprising to discover this kind of information on other smaller and less famous social websites. After years of harsh communism which has not tolerated any individuality and tried to build a collective society only guided through nationalism and theoretical collectivism, the Chinese administration cannot completely control the emergence of internet and social media. So, Chinese people who are suffering repression and difficulties in daily life can share their experiences and, maybe, one day, government will be forced to consider.

But this is a supposition. Until now, Facebook and others have not really succeeded rising such issues. Nevertheless, there a lot of examples which prove that social media are a useful tool in political change : 'Green revolution' in Iran in 2009-2010 and the recent revolution in Tunisia have demonstrated usefulness of social media : in these two cases, leaders of the movements used social media to organize people,to popularize their cause and to show the 'dark side' of the government reactions as murders of people or beating of journalists. In a nutshell, social media can serve interests of people who do not have traditional media on their side. Then, it can be both a tool of propaganda and a tool to organize.

These arguments also have another consequence : social media can be really useful for political change in closed countries, in dictatorships which control traditional media. In liberal democracies, traditional media are still mainly used to rise debates. Furthermore, issues of political change are not the same : 'political change' in these democracies does not mean overthrow of powers in contrary to Tunisia or Iran.

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