Internet Intent Versus Actual

Social media in general has taken a leap and transcended borders that no other medium could possibly have achieved in the past.  I accept as Evgeny made it abundantly clear in his video that the internet has provided a platform for bloggers via Twitter, Facebook, etc.  To exchange ideas, make friends and promote awareness of some issues, Harness world opinion as has happened in the Arab Spring, to organise campaigns as it reduces the difficulty of collective action to certain extent and to try to influence the decision making of certain companies in the west as it has happened with HSBC in America when they decided to renegade on the promise they made to students in respect of their overdraft. Recently, parties were organised using Facebook and Twitter to celebrate the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

No one can deny the internet has made it cheap to produce content and easy to reach a wider audience. We still have to keep in mind that awareness is only manifested when the issue in question is of interest to the person targeted and to harness world opinion without the traditional mediums such as TV, Radio and Newspapers would be limited in its impact.

Invisible Children succeeded in their campaign to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by Koni in the past. If the campaign was simply about bringing him to justice, then it was a just cause but the claim was to make him stop, in this case the campaign was at least six years too late. Subsequently the campaign triggered a floodgate of theories and questions.

Is there a hidden agenda? Is it simply propaganda? Is it a scam?

Western governments were fully aware of Koni and his atrocities.

Girls and boys are raped in conflict areas in Africa.

Why not campaign to bring to justice those who dropped bombs on babies in Gaza

Would the campaign have succeeded without the blessing of western governments?



Evgeny’s views are polarized and pragmatic because he is acutely more aware of the intricacies of social media in general and online social activism in particular visa-vis the forces at play when it comes to undemocratic countries. (Most of the undemocratic countries are supported and their survival is dependent on western governments). To embark on discussing this topic without a deep understanding of the world geopolitical map, cultural and social differences and one glove fits all is crude. The claims that online social activism has led or will lead to promoting and exporting democracy, and transforming countries are misleading.

There has to be a clear distinction between online social activism in democratic and undemocratic countries (As a person activist in a dictatorial country requires more than just conviction, passion, commitment and belief in the cause, is the risk to endure torture and imprisonment if one gets caught. For a group of activists, it would take a different dimension as abstractedly highlighted in the article “Revolution will not be tweeted”.


The claim that Arab spring was successful because of online social activism is at best misleading. Let’s take Egypt, the population is made up of  80 million, 160 000 household with broadband, average salary is £10 per a day for a 12 hour shift and unemployment rate around 10% without  social welfare system, and no NHS. In the case of Libya and Iran most of the online activism was carried out in the west among expatriates with no impact on the countries mentioned.

Clicktivism is a positive way to raise awareness if it is used sensibly and responsibly. Anthony Nolan Trust is foundation that deserves support.

With support from the charity Andrew McFadyen is running on Sunday April 21st for friends, loved ones and even perfect strangers. We love your support to fundraise for the Anthony Nolan Trust. Please donate if you can.


Task #5: Digital identities


Sam’s Thoughts

(received by mjg 26/2)

I found interesting Danah Boyd’s argument that kids are doing on the internet today exactly what they used to do in the mall years ago – hanging out, flirting, messing around – it’s only the location that’s changed, and that what they do now is persistent, which is good in that it lets kids do those things together but at different times, but bad in that what they do online is there on their record forever.

Her comments about the difficulties for teachers are definitely true – a teacher friend has to be very careful about what she does and says online in case any of her students find it. Also very interesting what she says about the fact that we now find it harder to trust anyone we can’t trace online, because if they’re not online it seems like they have something to hide.

I’m naturally quite shy and introverted, but online I project a much more confident and extrovert persona. I behave online pretty much exactly as I do with my close friends, but possibly just turned up to 11, as I’m not so constrained by my shyness. I actually have a group of friends who I first met online, in a chatroom, in 2002/3. They knew the online version of me first, and then we all met up and became good friends so they got to know the offline version. I think if asked they’d say that there’s not a lot of difference between the two.

Of course, it depends where on the internet – just as Levine talks about using different pats of our personalities depending on who we’e with, the same’s true on the internet.

On facebook I’m only talking to friends (90% of my facebook friends are people I know IRL), but on Twitter anyone can see me, so I tend to e more serious and restrained, even though on Facebook I’m there under my own name and on Twitter I have an alias.

Mo’s thoughts

(received by mjg 26/2)

We are at cross roads and this is just the beginning the digital identity is not limited to social media, and does not define ones personality. Those who willingly uploaded their profiles at least have the option of editing it according to what they wish to project to others. famous people use it for the purpose of enhancing their standing and use PR consultants to manage their accounts but normal people are exposed without foreseeing the impact on their lives in the future.

Even those who are simply interested in activities other than social media have also been allocated a digital identity with Google’s decision to pool users data from all it services, these are signs of things to come that no one will be immune and our privacy will be a thing of the past no matter what they claim.

Below Twitter-tastic example of two popular british persoalities

Stephen Fry and Professor Brian Cox