Web 2.0 is rapidly changing the world and creating a sense of global world 2.0.
As I have already discussed in several of my blog posts, the nature of media and news reporting is rapidly changing due to the influx of social media technologies. This week’s readings allowed me to continue to focus on this and question the role of social media in governance and power.
Social media is changing the power structure of traditional media and driving what is demanded on traditional media platforms. Usher (2011) exemplifies the ‘follower’ role of television and newspapers in the Egyptian social media revolution. Social media not only was the catalyst of the uprising but it also fostered the coverage of the event. It allowed the western world to gain a greater insight into an event that was difficult to cover on television and clearly showed the shifting power dynamics in news reporting and seemingly the beginnings of what you could call News 2.0. Mason (2011) details 20 reasons why web 2.0 is shifting power dynamics including point number 17:
It is – with international pressure and some powerful NGOs – possible to bring down a repressive government without having to spend years in the jungle as a guerrilla or years in the urban underground: instead the oppositional youth – both in the west in repressive regimes like Tunisia/Egypt, and above all in China – live in a virtual undergrowth online and through digital comms networks.
Stemming from this idea of shifting power dynamics in the media it is also interesting to look at the possibilities of creating Government 2.0. Ellis (2010) gives us an idea of how social media’s shifting of the news cycle patterns could simply allow politicians to get more sleep, feel rejuvenated and manage to come into work fresher and therefore have a longer career in politics. He implores politicians to embrace social media so that the good politicians stick around longer because they are better slept. Although this link is rather tenuous in my opinion, it is still interesting to look at how social media might have the ability to shift power dynamics in politics and the media at the same time.
Furthermore, it is interesting to look at the way a Government 2.0 could function based on a collaborative effort rather than a top down approach (as discussed in Us Now). The major difficulty surrounding such an idea is the scale and difficulty of allowing everyone to have a vote on something in such a system. Styles (2011) poses the idea that we have a visualisation (as discussed in ARTS2092) which allows us to pick and choose factions of government which control things we’re interested in. We could then select these factions and vote for what we want to happen in government. It is extremely interesting for me to look at this as we are approaching the first election that I can vote in. What would happen with a decentralised, leaderless government?
On an unrelated note, the word for this week was transversality (possible transversal I can’t remember which)
Ellis, Bob (2010) ‘Sleepless in Canberra’ The ABC, Drum Unleashed < http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/35116.html >
Mason, Paul (2011) ‘Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere’, Idle Scrawls BBC, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2011/02/twenty_reasons_why_its_kicking.html >
Usher, Nikki (2011), ‘How Egypt’s uprising is helping redefine the idea of a “media event”’, The Nieman Lab <http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/02/how-egypts-uprising-is-helping-redefine-the-idea-of-a-media-event/ >
UsNow < http://vimeo.com/4489849 >
Styles, Catherine (2009) “A Government 2.0 idea – first, make all the functions visible’, < http://catherinestyles.com/2009/06/28/a-government-2-0-idea/ >