lina

Networked

Posted in Uncategorized by Lina A.Hadi on February 27, 2011

The current political situation in the Middle East is nothing less than history in the making. It would be absurd to suggest that without social media the revolution would not have happened, but social media helped to inform and reach a larger audience in a short time, and allowed them to organize and collaborate that much more efficiently. To comprehend that the situation escalated to the extent it did, in so many countries, one after the other, with the people unified and informed via social media  is mind staggering. Live and real-time tweets and updates from on-the-ground citizens became the major source of news, found more credible and trustworthy than mainstream media sources, whose affiliations with local governments were well known. It is also noteworthy that international media quickly picked up on social media networks and relied on them for news and updates.

Technology has long been the object of fascination and desire for mankind, and yet, simultaneously, it has been exclusive to an omniscient circle of professionals that obtained the tools and the skills to utilize it. The Internet and social media have brought a whole new genre of author – both literary and visual- to the world.  Citizen journalism cultivated by social networks, blogs, micro-blogs and  other platforms has elevated the status of the user from passive recipient to active participant and author in today’s media.

What makes social media platforms so user friendly and engaging to the average internet user, to the extent that it prompted a large majority  to participate actively in a creative sphere that they had previously shied away from? Text based templates that require little or no effort from the user may be one aspect (take for example, the facebook model vs the old myspace model), cultural communication trends another, whereby it has become a regular method of communicating with peers, colleagues and friends. Choice, the ubiquity of it, is a another facet to consider.

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