Has Social Media Become an instigator for Civil Disobedience?

30 Oct

Over the years, Social Media has been causing a shift from physical human interaction to a digital interaction. We find ourselves reconnecting with friends and family members online, we read newspapers online, we do homework online and some of us even watch TV online. The list of things we have replaced with the use of the internet and social media goes on and on. One of the things that has been giving a lot to talk about and that has had a strong effect on political change has been the relationship between civil disobedience and social media. Civil disobedience is when an individual or a group of individuals refuse to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines, as a peaceful form of political protest. Civil disobedience is usually defined as a non-violent resistance. Many claim that social media is instigating civil disobedience, I on the other hand believe that social media is simply helping raise awareness against certain issues of the world. What’s so wrong about that? People need to know what is going on in different parts of the world.


People have taken a different approach on civil disobedience now than they did then. It use to be that people would engage in certain acts of disobedience and somehow they ended up on the news or the newspaper. Now a day, a lot of it takes place online. Some people argue that social media has been the root to many protests and civil disobedient actions. “The role of social media in protests and revolutions has garnered considerable media attention in recent years. Current conventional wisdom has it that social networks have made regime change easier to organize and execute.” (Marco Papic, Sean Noonan) The article Social Media as a Toolfor Protest claims that Social media alone, however, does not instigate revolutions. “They are no more responsible for the recent unrest in Tunisia and Egypt than cassette-tape recordings of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini speeches were responsible for the 1979 revolution in Iran.” (Marco Papic, Sean Noonan) The authors are referring to effect of media on the conflict over religion and identity risks that has been ongoing in Egypt and Tunisia and the effect of cassette-tape recordings and the Iran Revolution. They are trying to say that Social media is not responsible for outbursts of revolutions and protests thus it has been around since before social media.Civil Disobedience has been around for centuries, Social Media hasn’t been around for nearly as long.


“Social media are tools that allow revolutionary groups to lower the costs of participation, organization, recruitment and training. But like any tool, social media have inherent weaknesses and strengths, and their effectiveness depends on how effectively leaders use them and how accessible they are to people who know how to use them.” (Marco Papic, Sean Noonan) I strongly believe that social media has not been the cause of civil disobedience in recent years, these things have been going on for as long as we can remember, the difference is that thanks to Social Media sites those who are passionate about issues are taking a stance by blogging, posting pictures and videos online and simply sharing with the world how they feel. People now have the opportunity to express their freedom of speech and liberate themselves from what they believe are injustices.  Social media has simply made it easier to raise awareness. Social media is somewhat more of an enabler than an instigator.


One of the issues that have resulted in the spreading of awareness is the U.S government’s infiltration of social media. Many of us are aware that government officials are monitoring our cell phones and our online activities. The reason being not only to crack down on those who are doing illegal things, but the government has had it out for activists. The video presented bellow briefly talks about the effect of social media and activism and the approach the government has taken on the subject.

Do you think Social Media is in fact the cause or the instigator for the reoccurring protests around the world? How do you feel about the government’s reaction to activist and people who are spreading the word about social injustice through the media?

Sources used:

Papic, Marko , and Sean Noonan. “Social Media as a Tool for Protest.” Stratfor. N.p., 3 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2013. <http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110202-social-media-tool-protest&gt;.
Images from:




How to advertise yourself on a Social Network site

17 Oct

Despite the negative effect social media has brought upon our generation, the one thing that’s important to note is how beneficiary social networking sites have been for large and small business/organizations. In fact, as a student studying business administration and management, I have had the opportunity to work closely with a couple of small businesses and I have noticed that many do not find it necessary to pay for their own website. They rely on certain sites like Facebook and Twitter and they take advantage of the opportunity to advertise for free. Businesses that are careful and strategic about what they share are really successful at engaging and interacting with consumers who follow them on twitter or like them on Facebook.

Social Networking sites changed the way businesses approach advertising and marketing, but what is interesting to see, and what people often do not pay attention to, is how it has also changed to way we as workers have to advertise ourselves. According to the article What Your Social Media Reputation Says to Employers written by Emily Driscol, “it used to be that job candidates were judged on their resume, cover letter and references before the in-person interview. But now with social media, job candidates are being fully examined before even stepping foot into a human resources department, and some college students might find themselves at a disadvantage.” (Driscol, Emily). The article focuses on how business rely on social network to conduct a sort of a background check which will in some ways determine whether or not to hire and individual and a lot of the younger population doesn’t seem to pay much mind to it. “60% of graduates are not concerned about their online profiles affecting their ability to secure or keep a job, and experts say a candidate’s online presence and the content they post can make or break a job opportunity.” (Driscol, Emily). The article claims that your “digital footprint” says a lot about you and is very accessible; therefore we have to be careful about posting inappropriate statuses and or pictures. We often aren’t aware of how the things we say may affect someone, is the same thing with social networks, we don’t realize how what we post online will eventually play a part in whether or not we get hired.

The article How Your Social Media Profile Could Make Or Break Your Next Job Opportunity written by Lisa Quast, discusses the findings of the 2012 annual technology market survey conducted by Eurocom Worldwide. “Almost one in five technology industry executives say that a candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.” Previous Eurocom Worldwide surveys had found almost 40% of the survey respondents from technology companies review job candidate’s profiles on social media sites. (Quast Lisa). More and more research shows that companies do in fact take in consideration your online reputation.

With that in mind, we need to remember that just as well as companies advertise themselves online, by posting pictures and tweeting, we are also advertising ourselves as individuals and potential members of the workforce.




Driscol, Emily. “What Your Social Media Reputation Says to Employers | Fox Business.” Fox Business | Business News & Stock Quotes – Saving & Investing. N.p., 03 Jun. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2013. <http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/06/03/what-your-social-media-reputation-says-to-employers/&gt;.


Quast, Lisa. “How Your Social Media Profile Could Make Or Break Your Next Job Opportunity – Forbes.” Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. N.p., 23 Apr. 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2012/04/23/your-social-media-profile-could-make-or-break-your-next-job-opportunity/&gt;.


Contradicting articles on the effects of social media

7 Oct

Contradicting articles on the effects of social media

The article Pew: Social networking use doubles among adults, does not weaken relationships by Julie Moos, claims that majority of people who believe that social network sites have weakened ties between individuals are incorrect. The article states that research shows “Americans have more close social ties than they did two years ago. And they are less socially isolated. We found that frequent use of Facebook is associated with having more overall ties.” Many other articles like Social Networks Can Ruin Your Relationships for example, claim otherwise. I know what you are thinking, who do we believe? Do social networks in fact weaken our relationships or not?

One thing to consider when looking at these two contradictory readings is that Julie Moos’s is targeting the older population, while the other article talks more about the younger generation. This could be the difference between the findings. Social media can have different effects on different age groups.

Julie Moos’s article shared findings that show that half of adults (47 percent) report using Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter and other networks, up from 26 percent in 2008. And the average age of a social network user has increased, from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. “Over half of all adult SNS users are now over the age of 35”. The approach the older generation has taken on social networks is very different than the one we the younger generations have taken. My assumption is that because they grew up without social media and without technology being shoved in their faces, they were able to hold on to certain norms. Therefore allowing them to use social networks for the purpose they were created which is nothing more than to communicate with friends and family.

On the other hand, the younger generation seems to have a different focus when it comes to social networks. Ever heard of the term “facebook famous” or “tweeter famous”? The article Social Networks Can Ruin Your Relationships states that “Social Networks can also cause us to be superficial and lose sight of who our true friends really are. On Facebook, many of us have up to 1000 friends, but all of these people can’t possibly all be our “real” friends.” This is an example of someone who is facebook famous. Kids focus on getting thousands of followers and likes that they post almost anything on the internet. They get lost in the desire of wanting to be popular or “cool” that they no longer use these sites to connect with friends and family but to promote themselves to strangers.

So, the answer to the question “do social networks in fact weaken our relationships or not? Is it depends. It seems as if it positively affects the older population while it has a negative effect on the youth. The older population has a better sense of what is ok and what is not when it comes to social media. As for us, the younger generation, we need to reevaluate the way we approach social networks.
Pew: Social networking use doubles among adults, does not weaken relationships. Julie Moos. Web. Poynter.org. 10/3/13

Social Networks Can Ruin Your Relationship. Web. Athenstalks.com. 10/13/13 http://www.athenstalks.com/social-networks-can-ruin-your-relationships

How is Social Media Making us “Lazier”?

25 Sep

We have made it a habit to check our phones, Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams, almost every second of our day. For some of us, it’s the first thing we do, we wake up and read our newsfeeds every morning as if it where the morning paper. Like Jonathan Franzen said in his essay What is wrong with the modern world, we find ourselves spending most of our waking hours texting and emailing, uploading pictures and updating statuses. What exactly is wrong with this picture? The problem is not only that it has become a bad habit or an addiction; our biggest concern should be that social networks are ruining our human interactions and changing our social norms.

What is it about social networks that captures our attention? The article “What makes Social Networking websites so addictive” by Dianna Bocco, suggest that one of the explanations as to why it can be addicting, is that if you have 10 friends, it’s not a problem keeping up with them, but if you have hundreds of friends, you might find yourself online for hours trying to check all the updates and finishing up conversations.” People are constantly posting things online and we feel like we need to make sure we keep up with everyone else.

We look at our phones while we are waiting for someone, when we are walking somewhere, when we are in the car, and even at the dinner table! Is it all of a sudden ok to pull out our phones while in the middle of a lunch date or a casual conversation? In his article How has Social Media Changed Social Norms? Chris Pirillo states:

“Gone are the days of hiding your phone under your napkin at dinner. Done away with are the stigmas attached to so many of the behaviors taught to us growing up as being acceptable. Of course we’re still going to say please and thank you…however, I’m willing to bet that you’re going to check into foursquare during dinner – and take pictures of whatever is on your plate for Foodspotting.”

He also states that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have not only changed the way we connect to others, they have also given us a new outlook as to what should be socially acceptable.

Along with changing our view on social norms, the use of social networks is changing the way we communicate with each other. Though it might be interesting to look at why we are so quick to check our phones so often, the most important points, which Franzen was trying to get across in his article, is not how addictive it is, but how the smarter technology gets, the lazier humans get. What does this have to do with social media? A long side technology, social networks themselves makes us “lazier”. We often find ourselves trying to fit our thoughts into a certain amount of characters so we shorten the way we spell things and sometimes forget how to spell the whole word. We’d rather catch up with our friends by going through their profiles and pictures as oppose to actually spending time with them.

The article “Social Networking Makes You Stupid” written by Bill Keller, explains why social networks, twitter in particular, is making us “stupid”.

“social networking is more or less killing genuine personal relationships and conversation.. And that Twitter conversations are—by being fragmented into 140 character segments—are killing the ability of people to hold meaningful and deep conversations.  He worries that the extensive and pervasive use of social networking is causing humanity to lose vital mental skills that we once had” The more we rely on social networks, the lazier we get.

Dave Higgins, Social Networking Makes You Stupid. Web. 9/19/13.


Diana Bocco. What makes social networking so addictive?. Web. 9/19.2013


Jonathan Franzen. essay What is wrong with the modern world.Web. 9/19/13.

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