Tag Archives: social media

Adultism and Youth Use of Social Media (Mimi Ito and danah boyd)

Adult bias and projections on youth are described by social media researcher danah boyd (she uses lower case), the author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (2014). She points out that too many adults view youth as “other,” lumping them into a generational category, instead of acknowledging their diversity. Adults think they know about youth because they were teens or parent them. Journalists, politicians, and others too often portray youth either as rebellious troublemakers or innocent and vulnerable—in need of protection. Youth were the focus of most of the 20th century moral panics, in terms of their use of drugs, sex, video games and other media, and rock n’ roll, so that they are surveilled and regulated by adults. They aren’t seen as “deserving any agency, and, yet, they are also judged based on what they chose to do.” Thus, the decision of scholars to “tell their story is often activist in nature, even if heretical to some.”[i]

Mimi Ito, involved in the Digital Youth study, reports it’s important to reveal “how adults often unreasonably curtail young people’s freedom and voice.” She states that, “Age is one of the most naturalized forms of oppression that we have,” the least questioned among racism, sexism, and classism despite ongoing “generational tension and moral panics.” In modern times adolescents are segregated, but electronic media allows them to access adult worlds, to be unsupervised, and have more private conversations than phones may permit. Ito studies girls’ mobile phone culture to explore “girl-led tech innovation.”[ii] Now that more adults join youth in using social media, traits that were attributed to youth such as “drama, oversharing, narcissism, attentional fragmentation, are certainly not age specific.” Ito and co-author dana boyd (she uses lower case) look to electronic media use as a source of freedom for young people.

[i] Henry Jenkins, Mizuko Ito, danah boyd. Participatory Culture in a Networked Era. Polity, 2016, p. 35.

 

 

 

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Social media hurts girls

Nancy Jo Sales reported on her interviews with more than 200 teenage girls. For the first time in history girls of various classes and backgrounds are doing the same activity although they told her they were hurt by the frequent cyber bullying, sexual harassment, request for nude photos, and critical judgments of their photographs. Sales blamed the “hypersexualization” of girls on availability of online pornography. She concluded that, “Now more than ever, girls need feminism” and its critical tools to understand the socialization of girls in a digital age.

Global Internet Use Expanding

In 2014: more than 3 billion people used the Internet, more than 2 billion people used social media with about 29% of the world having an active account,  over half the world’s population had mobile phones with more active mobile connections than the world’s population.

In January 2015, 42% of the global population had access to the Internet, an increase of 7% over a year.

 

“2015: An Year of Digital Darwinism?,” I am Wire, February 8, 2015.

http://www.iamwire.com/2015/02/2015-year-digital-darwinism/109585/comment-page-1

Are political parties the key to changemaking, rather than street protests?

Author/journalist Moisés Naim observes that the global street protests with similar tent cities, assemblies and use of social media and slogans against the rule of the 1% didn’t accomplish much, with the exception of overthrowing dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Ukraine—but that’s a major accomplishment.[i] Naim pointed out in April 2014 that Dilma Rousseff promised changes that didn’t materialize. In Turkey, autocratic Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected President and built a 1,000-room mansion. Naim blames the ease with which protesters can be gathered with clicktivism on the Internet without the daily organizing work to create a plan for permanent change in organizations like new political parties. What do you think? Please comment.

[i] Moisés Naim, “Why Street Protests Don’t Work, The Atlantic, April 7, 2014.

http://moisesnaim.com/columns/the-futility-of-street-protests/

The role of social media in recent global uprisings, a la Paolo Gerbaudo

Paolo Gerbaudo points out that the anti-globalization movement used Internet services like Indymedia and mailing lists, while the newer movements use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The former recruits new people and the latter coordinates specific actions. He says the difference is the anti-globalization movement identified with minorities, as typified in Zapatista Sucocomandante Marcos’ saying, “Marcos is all the exploited, marginalized, oppressed minorities resisting and saying ‘Enough.’” The newer movements see them themselves as the populist majority, the 99%, or the Egyptian slogan “we are one hand,” joined together in “a new experience of public space.”

Gerbaudo interviewed 80 activists and observed demonstrations in Egypt, Spain, and the US to conclude that the uprisings were not leaderless spontaneous uprisings, because “influential Facebook admins and activist tweeps become ‘soft leaders’ or choreographers.”[i] They construct the “emotional space” to galvanize action with directions about where to meet in person; he states that the role of emotions in groups is neglected in social movement studies. Specific examples of reluctant or “anti-leaders” are Egyptian bloggers and tweeters Gigi Ibrahim and Sandmonkey and Wael Ghronin, co-administrator of the Facebook page “We are all Khaled.” They created group identification and the motivation to show up in a demonstration, stirring up indignation, anger, pride, and shared victimhood. In Spain, Twitter feeds and live-streaming video attracted “normal” people to the squares. But, he believes once the people were in Tahrir Square, face-to-face communication was more important than social media. He believes Occupy Wall Street didn’t take off until activists occupied Zuccotti Park. He faults professor Clay Skirky for “techno-celebratory discourse” that views recent protests as dependent on social media. On the other side, some critics of social media think that “slacktivism,” enables users to feel involved by joining a Facebook page without having any impact.

 

[i] Paolo Gerbaudo. Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism. Pluto Press, 2012, p. 5.