In this module, even though the main topic is about “e-journalism” in the recent years by advanced social media tools, I think we can include that this also reveals the society is improving the democracy by interconnecting of social media.
Nowadays, people can report everything by using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and so on. We are not just watching TV to get news or other information, we can create our own news to the public by these social media tools. Based on the two questions of this module, I think there are some new opportunities for citizen journalism and social activism. First, I think participation is the most vital thing in this digital era. As before said, people can make news by themselves to the public whether who a professional journalist is or not. And in the massive information net, people are hard to classify who you are and they do not care about whether you are a journalist or not. People just give and take information by social media. Therefore, people have more participation than before by new advanced technologies. More participation, higher democracy. While, as Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn pointed out, it does not improve the democracy for people even though we have to admit that the Internet and social media affect social and cultural affairs somehow, especially in the political field. They gave the quote by Jonah Seiger who is cofounder of Mindshare Internet Campaigns: “The evolution of the Internet and politics is going to happen a lot more slowly than people expect.” That is to say, though people participate in social and political affairs, they still can not change them what they expected. However, we have to say that people have more rights to the society by writing commentaries and news than we are in the traditional media age. So, I think participation is very important in this “e-journalism” era.
Second, free will is the other opportunity for citizen journalism and social activism. As for me, I have take the course of COMM 2P91 which is focused on the relationship between social media and the whole society. And I have taken the topic of my presentation to talk about social media and social activism. I have researched many websites and social media tools for social activism. I found that we can not only take news of social movements and affairs by CBC or TV, but also can get many different social groups’ news and information by their websites and own social media. Such as Movement, ItGetsBetter and so on, those are all about different social groups have social campaigns by their own news, stories and events. This way offer the discussion platform of free will by different people to express their own stories and identities. As Peter Dahlgren said, “An important attribute of the net (broadly understood) is its capacity to facilitate horizontal, or civic communication: people and organizations can link up with each other for purposes of sharing information, providing mutual support, organizing, mobilizing, or solidifying collective identities.” Thus, people have more freedom to express their identities by new social media, it leads to the improvement of citizen journalism and social activism.
In conclusion, the advent of social media leads to citizen journalism and social activism. That is to say that these factors are in the circular relationship, people can have more participations and more independent free will to write and share their own news and stories by social media tools, this contributes to the formation of citizen journalism and social activism.
Dahlgren, P. (2012). Reinventing participation: civic agency and the web environment. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations. 4.2, p27.
Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn. Introduction: The Digital Revolution, the Informed Citizen, and the Culture of Democracy. in Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn eds. (2003). Democracy and New Media. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. p1-17.