Connecting in a Digital World | Part 2: Online Activism & Social Revolutions
Before I started writing this post, I took a moment to stop and look around. To be mindful of the environment around me. To see how the atmosphere and environment of my room is transformed by digital products and appliances. I started to count how many digital products I owned were ‘on’. Let’s see…laptop, one, iphone, 2, miniboom box, 3, xbox, 4, tv, 5...hmm my lamp is on..so 6. This is the norm in today’s digital age, as the average U.S. household now owns an average of 25 consumer electronics products.
On a much larger scale, outside of my own bedroom, digital technology has the power to transform our environment and social interactions. As we transition into Web 3.0, we are closer to each other than ever before while still remaining apart. Singlehandedly, the internet has been the plug to connect humans all over the world.
Modern movements, cultural and political, both give thanks to their existence to the internet. Before the internet, the term viral was almost non-existent (except in the context of biological diseases “insert wide-eyed emoji”). The passing of word of mouth information happened at a much slower pace than it does today. Thanks to social media & instant messaging, messages and communications are now passed through online influencers and circulated around communities in the form of shares, comments, and retweets.
Today, a simple tweet can be heard from Brooklyn, New York to Palestine…a revolution can be sparked with a push of a button. As a result of digital communication, modern grassroots movements (both cultural & political) are rapidly expanding their reach outside the scope of traditional media (see Bernie Sanders).
This isn’t meant to be a political article, but it is important that I highlight how digital technology has allowed for people to connect and debate on fundamental political issues. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the revolution will not be televised…it is liked and shared.
The development of social networks and online communities have allowed for humans to connect all over the world. Through these channels, word of mouth is now able to utilize what had previously been considered invisible networks.
“Technology and social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, allowed protests to come together faster and strong”. Traditional media is now disrupted. More so, the power of media has shifted from those in corporate offices to the people. The accessibility of social media has connected people all over the world, as a result communication and action have been strengthened.
Connectivity is online. It is now easier to unite a community and progress a movement thanks to the impact of digital social networks. With hopes of integrating positive change in society.
To shift gears and to put the context in terms of consumerism. In the past, before the terms ‘digital & social media marketing’ were coined, marketing was pretty simple. The rise of technology has drastically altered the creation and consumption of media, along with the transformation of cultures.
Prior to the digital age, traditional advertising constantly just ‘pushed’ the messages and media that they wanted consumers to hear. These messages were usually based on functional benefits of their product and/or service that was being broadcasted. However, Mad Men era advertising and marketing no longer is efficient and doesn’t work in the digital age.
The nature of digital is pervasive. The lines have blurred between ‘real life’ and ‘digital life’. We can now pick and choose which messages we want to be receptive to. Consumers have now obtained this ‘god like digital power’.
"If people are now creating all the media, then, you know, the people become the platform".