Week 11 Discussion Questions

(fr this time!)

Bijan-How Black Lives Matter Uses Social Media to Fight the Power

  1. Is there a reason we don’t have organization in the Black Lives Matter movement that could be compared with that of the Civil Rights movement (SNCC, etc)? Is it a result of the tools we use in our decentralized, social media age? Or is the “cause” not worth the same level of organization?
  2. Has Black Lives Matter changed the African American experience? Do we have to attribute this change to social media and the environment that African Americans now live in through the web?

Okolloh-Ushahidi or ‘testimony’: Web 2.0 tools for crowdsourcing crisis information

  1. Okolloh mentions the fact that crowdsourced information may not always be reliable. Is some incorrect information better than no information/heavily censored information?
  2. The first iteration of the Ushahidi website was a shocking success, however, the expansion thereafter was much less successful than originally thought. Is this type of media organization useful in situations where the population isn’t use to having this kind of interconnection? Can people in crisis situations be persuaded into having this see-something, say-something mentality?
  3. Could Ushahidi be useful outside of Africa/areas that aren’t used free to internet blogs and social media? Can it compete with Twitter, Youtube, or major news outlets or is it confined to third world countries?

Shirky-The Political Power of Social Media

  1. Is internet freedom a universal right? Why/why not?
  2. Do you believe in “instrumental” or “environmental” internet freedom? Why?
  3. Question for Prof. Arsenault: Which article did you read first? Shirky or Gladwell? Which view do you agree with?

Gladwell-Small Changes: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted

  1. Gladwell makes consistent allusions to the Civil Rights movements of the 60s and compares it with today’s social media activism. Can the current state of the US really be compared with the climate of fifty years ago? Should we expect the same conviction of social media activists as we had from civil rights activists? Have the tools of communication and organization changed but the issues remain the same?
  2. Would MLK have had an easier time if he had access to Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform that gave him access to communicating with millions of people at once? Would the civil right’s movement have been better off with more technology?
  3. Is a military style operation necessary for today’s movements like Black Lives Matter, or larger political reform? (specifically referring to the US)
  4. Does new media take away from/jeopardize existing forms of organization? Could more progress be made if we didn’t have the freedom of the internet?

Gladwell and Shirky-From Innovation to Revolution

  1. Social media is quick, cheap, and, usually, universal. Does it also create a problem? Could a current movement be delayed due to the hyper connectivity we have through media?
  2. Does social media distract more than it connects? Could social media activists be more committed and more knowledgeable if they didn’t have access to the opinions of thousands of possibly ignorant individuals?
  3. Is the change that the internet has made to the global landscape ultimately for the better?
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