Technology and social media as protest tools.

A lot has been made recently about the role of technology and social media in realm of global politics in places such as Egypt and Libya. Some claim that access to quick easy information has turned normal ordinary people into frothing at the mouth protesters, ready for blood or at least the political life of whoever they are protesting against. I however do not share this perspective. Giving a man a butcher knife does not necessarily turn him into Michael Myers, there are plenty of people in this world with the tools necessary to render other people helpless, yet they don’t.

Facebook is a great way to meet like-minded people and bring them together for a cause. Many dollars have been raised for causes ranging from Autism to Zygomycosis, to me the answer is clear. It is not the technology and social media that is the issue. It is up to people who are using theses mediums to use personal responsibility and police themselves. You may scoff at the idea that some religious zealot halfway across the world has any intention of being responsible in the use of anything, but the moment it becomes a tool for more than protest(i.e, Terrorism)  we will see the eyes of the world focusing more on this issue and how to control it. Then quick easy information may become regulated or even screened by some sort of regulatory government, like a global big brother capable of knowing what your actions are in real-time. It may seem like a stretch but the last thing anybody wants is to be the one who did not stop the next big terror plot, especially when the information was posted right there on Facebook.

Facebook is not however the only culprit. Twitter, YouTube and MySpace may seem like natural tools in the techno-terrorist arsenal, but the truth is it does not matter what the name of the service is, the same basic principles apply. Information is being spread to very large groups of people in very little time. This problem is not limited to overseas either, take some examples from closer to home like the flash-mob violence orchestrated in US Cities such as Philadelphia, DC, Milwaukee and Chicago. These may seem like isolated events but I think that they very aptly demonstrate the power of these mediums. YouTube is everybody’s favorite time waster, you can go there to watch people build preposterous food items on EpicMealTime or just watch a baby scream with terror then delight when his mother sneezes. It is also a breeding ground for violence and any sort of protest, people involved in these protests are quick to break out there video capable phones and show their compatriots that they were part of an event and that they were really there. Another problem is created when an unexpected event happens and someone is there to catch it on their phone, because one person’s reaction to a bad situation, may end up in the eye others, as the reaction of a whole group. This scenario could lead to riots and other civil unrest that does nothing but weaken to bond between people and their governments. Soon a whole tidal wave of unhappy, violent protesters could be marching in revolt because of one person’s bad decision.

Impossible as it may seem to keep the whole entire world from using networking and technology to bring upon us civil unrest, it is in fact quite simple. It starts with you. Be responsible for your own actions and tell your friends to do the same, while it is not our responsibility to monitor our friends communications and to do such would be a violation of their privacy, it IS our DUTY to make sure that illegal activities regardless of how meager they seem are reported. This is true especially on the internet where what you do may live forever regardless of whom or what are seeing it.

Thought about by: Peder Nelson


  1. October 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm


  2. Daniel said,

    October 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I think this is great! It falls in line with the quote: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Cell phones are just as quick and easy to use as social media, but you don’t see anyone trying to take them away. yet.

  3. October 20, 2011 at 4:09 am

    I really liked the way you presented this information. It nice to read good information like this rather than to waste your time doing nothing. Great Job! Thnkas for posting it!

  4. Joe said,

    October 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Spot on about leading to more regulations. It’s important that the publishers of these sites have authority and liability for what’s displayed on their sites. Responsible self-governance by them does a lot for the integrity and enjoyment of these sites.

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