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Symbols and Narratives of Justice

In this blog post we will discuss the article by Bennett, W. Lance og Alexandra Segerberg (2012) called “The Logic of Connective Action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics”. Out from this article we will take a look at the influence social media has on the way we discuss politics with each other and how it has changed the way politicians conduct them self in the public arena. We will also look at how social media and online news media played a role in some of the recent conflicts and demonstrations we have seen around the world. In the last part of the blog post we will take a look at the digitally networking action (DNA) and how it has helped people organize themselves in political movements.

As it is mentioned in the article by Bennet and Segerberg, it has become easier for both smaller and larger groups of people who share the same political opinion or other viewpoints to join each other in public debates and public demonstrations. But to reflect on this development of social media one might argue that this phenomenon does not only give the civil societies in poor leaded countries opportunities to change the political agenda. But it also makes it difficult for law abiding politicians to act and speak without their statements and opinions becoming viral through social media. Let’s take for an example look at the presidential campaign in the United States, where every single speech would bring an online storm with it, good or bad. And maybe social media has become the biggest tool for politicians to spread their word, but at the same time, social media can be vicious and bad bringing for politicians as well.

In the article social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are mentioned in order to show its role in relation to ‘digitally networking action’. Both of these services proved to be vital in the organization of the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as the Arab Spring and other movements. But another organizational tool that can be mentioned in relation to this is ‘new media’. There has been much debate about mainstream media’s unwillingness to substantially cover and discuss movements such as Occupy Wall Street. The spreading of contentious action is many ways a development happening parallel with the spreading of new media. As an alternative to more traditional media outlets, new media has provided people with new conditions under which to organize themselves and engage in various movements across the globe. News outlets on the internet for example give people easier access to the news and has in a lot of cases been a response to older news networks that in many cases refrain from covering global movements and demonstrations. New media can be said to form an interactive community which gives people better opportunities to organize and engage in digitally networking action.

The article also talks about Digitally networking action (DNA) which offers a superior platform to plan and organize social movements and to stay connected with other people and organizations with alike objectives. Consequently, Bennet and Segerberg categorizes as the two main dimensions of DNA to be collective and connective action. However, interestingly it seems that not only being active within these social networks and gaining factors like popularity, recognition, associates and followers, the networks are still depended on external actors. It seems, that in order to achieve the objectives set, and the ideas to profoundly break through, social networks still need acceleration from traditional media (press coverage, news broadcasts etc.). As Bennet and Segerberg points out, the indignatos of Spain gained plenty of positive media coverage, therefore able to address their objectives and to gain foothold in Spain and to create awareness abroad outside of the digital networks. Even though it is often argued that the traditional forms of media are losing their importance and influence due to the social media’s ever growing portion of people’s media consumption, it seems that in order to add validity for social and political movements, the acknowledgement from traditional forms of media remains essential.

By Joel Welling, Nikolaj Preisler, Michell Fabrin and Simon Andersson

 

Bibliography:

Bennett, W. Lance og Alexandra Segerberg (2012) “The Logic of Connective Action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics”, Information, Communication, and Society 15(5): 739-768

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