The Impact of the Internet and Social Media on Activism Essay

1184 Words 5 Pages
Academic Writing and Critical Thinking – September 29, 2014
Assignment 4a - Draft
Joern Meier
Royal Roads University – Continuing Studies

Author Note
This assignment was prepared for Academic Writing and Critical Thinking, PAAP3858-A, taught by Jessica Michalofsky
Academic Writing and Critical Thinking – September 29, 2014
Assignment 4a - Draft
Final Paper
The almost omnipresent Internet transforms our lives, connecting us to family, friends, and the world in ways inconceivable only a few years ago. Through social media, we actively participate in creating, editing, and consuming a never-ending stream of data. Private corporations and protagonists of political or social change all vie to reach and engage highly targeted
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Gladwell (2010) contended that the Internet is largely incapable of fostering the strong individual relationships necessary for highly motivated activism because of the weak social bindings of social media networks. According to him, the Internet is a very successful platform for initiatives requiring little personal sacrifice, but is no good at all at serious committed activism.
This argument fails to convince. Gladwell and his allies do not seem to realize that almost all conflicts resulting in movements for social or political change are anchored in the physical world. Activists motivated by strong social ties should not be less committed because of their access to social media, instead the Internet provides activists even in the eyes of Gladwell (2010) with a few extra tools. Even the voices for Internet-induced slacktivism do not dispute that the Internet age provides the highly motivated activist with some new tools.
We heard from the skeptics of Internet activism, but where do the believers in the transformative power of the Internet stand? Postmes and Brunsting (2002) argued that the Internet has transformed and strengthened activism, because new ever-evolving technologies provide the connections between causes and prospective activists by means of enhanced access to news, effective mass communication, and a number of ways to build new ties with likeminded people. Thus, rational and cognitive processes feed motivation and complement or

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