SMC300 Cheat Sheet - Week 10

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12 Apr 2012
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Week 10 Ntwking Activism and Political
Collective action Shirky
Groups capable of exerting different kind of force than are individuals, and when that
force is turned against existing institution, create different kind of threat
Protests (i.e. Leipzig protests leading up to topping of GDR, flash mob inspired
Lohman: information cascade:
Individuals have particular threshold to join protest, key factor is fear of
punishment, each successful march = diminished fear and spread awareness
Shirky: shared awareness:
Facilitates effective and rapid group coordination -> enable political action, SNS:
documentation (permanent) and distribution (rapid and global) of evidence
SNS enables rapid/simple group formation, removes obstacles to collective action,
function as ordinary tool can enable unprecedented effects, new widely accessible
forms of document, sharing, dist, storing
Social awareness Shirky
3 levels: everyone knows, everyone knows that everyone knows, visible action =
everyone knows that everyone knows that…
shirky argue 3rd level necessary for real public action
organizing without organizations; social tools allow group effort invisible, immediate
results… coordinated with little advance planning, in public (online) without linking
directly back to individual places/people
diminished obstacles for participation… collective action traditionally difficult b/c
commitment, often convincing people who did care to care more… with SNS people who
care a little can participate a little while being effective
all on the record… Shirky – using state’s reaction against itself, jujitsu
i.e. ice cream flash mobs, public tools to force state to react
group undertaking as progression, ladder of activity, higher up and deeper, higher
sharing: fewest demands, participation individual
cooperation: changing behave to synchro with others, conversation, give and
take (higher level = collaborative production: participation involves co-
authoring, no one person take credit for created)
collective action: most difficult to achieve, group to commit to particular effort,
binding decision and responsibility, id tied
cyberactivism: political activism on internet, new mode of radical action
newest social movements are nodal, ntwked and leaderless, movement of movements,
internet unprecedented role in progressive social change
come together temporarily for manifestations against globalized capital, mobilizing via
digital and mobile comm ntwk
spread awareness of issues, feel more involved in civic life
key: continue to question, challenge limitations
KONY… mood turn to anger as see foreign, inaccurate account belittling and
commercializing suffering, promote bracelets and fundraising
Backlash and fizzle… initial criticism on Invisible Children, motivations,
simplified and misleading info -> SNS users who make film viral (slacktivism),
conflicted feelings
Key criticism Kony=evil, sidestep bigger issues
Doomed to fail because try to fix problem by sharing
Sudden drop in interest, no one cares anymore, don’t bother
Shirky people adopt more simple social told and allow faster comm, speed of group
action inc, more is different, faster is different
Slacktivism: feel-good online activism that has zero political/social impact, gives
participants illusion of having meaningful impact without demanding anything more
than joining Facebook group… ideal type of activism for lazy generation; why bother
with sit-ins and risk of arrest if can be loud campaigning in virtual space?
Concern= online activism will displace and diminish civic engagement (Putnam)
Hactivism and tech activism: involve actual programming, coding, p2p info leaks and
hacking… alongside cyberactivism and SNS enabled activism… often overlap
Info is power