AoIR 7 notes: impact of Web 2.0 on social activism
Cynical opinions aside, there were a few moments of cohesion over the three days (plus the day for the Doctoral Colloquium), where I found myself excited by the forward-thinking research that's happening. A couple of presentations in particular really floated my boat. Darren Sharpe (old profile) at QUT's Creative Industries proved inspiring with thoughts on the future of the technology of things (i.e., UGC, RFID), and Brett Rolfe, presented some of his thoughts on the impact of Web 2.0 on social activism. Here are my notes from Rolfe's session:
Social movement – a collective group with an agenda
Repertoire of contention – need to contend with government bodies/opposition; the tactics used to contend (e.g., barricades, marches/rallies); the set of tactics you can draw on.
What can we do online? What is our e-repertoire of contention?
Diffusion: “cyberdiffusion” – allow different movements to communicate with one another.Note: a quick search for "cyberdiffusion" produced predominantly French pages, with only 7 English results (Google). A good-looking article, From the streets to the Internet: the cyberdiffusion of contention by JM Ayres (1999) in Annuals 566, 132-143, doesn't come up when I search for it...
Internet = resource (e.g., library) and venue (e.g., location of protest)
Avenue of communication
Venue for contestation (e.g., G8 rally; virtual
Taken offline and reinterpreted in online space (rally in online world) ****relay for life****
“hothouses of innovation” – venues are small, techno-savvy organisations who create activist tactics and pass them on
Web 2.0 = repository for information to platform for service: building, searching (sharing material)
Mobilise people around and issue
(e.g.,) Flickr = resources and venue; sharing (H2 “flipping the bird”), socialising (MySpace: Rock The Vote – engaging people in the demographic by using the tools that bring and link people; develop advocates, apostles and generate a movement; convert more people to the cause
social movements are key to identity and behaviour.
As online behaviour changes, our engagement as social activists in this space changes
These and other environments will remain rich sites for research.They invite and extension of social movement methodologies, but also CHALLENGE these methodologies