Analysis Of Clay Shirky's The Political Power Of Social Media

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Freedom of Expression or Freedom of Invasion?
From hieroglyphics, the printing press, to the computer, the concept of communication has been an integral part of society in order to express and spread ideas. With the vast advancements in technology and social media tools, communication has evolved into a far more immediate, efficient method for greater involvement in activities locally and globally. Clay Shirky, in “The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change,” outlines how to use these relatively new modes of interaction as a political force. He introduces the instrumental approach, where anti-censorship and “western” websites are the primary forces that are encouraged, and the environmental, where local conversations among the
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Shirky argues that starting local conversations within people is far more effective in the long run in order to make true change and create a public sphere. As a part of his solutions, he presses for the reordering of priorities where freedom of expression socially and personally is at the top. Grounding this idea further, he announced a difficult, yet crucial step, which incorporated engagement between the government and the private companies that are “[…] used most for political speech, conversation, and coordination” (Shirky 42). However, a controversial social media tool that he had listed falls under scrutiny: WikiLeaks. Though WikiLeaks allows for the space for people to post confidential, often controversial aspects of media and the government in order to counter corruption, it wavers on the idea that it may be more an invasion of privacy than the freedom of speech that Shirky

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