Ferguson to New York, Social Media Is the Organizer’s Biggest Megaphone

Recent protests about Ferguson has shown how social media has matured into a crucial tactic for coordinating activity, drawing people to the street and trading tips.

The reason that why these offline demonstrations could happen almost immediately after the news pope out, because online social media can amplify it more and it reach people way faster than traditional media.

Here are some functions of social media illustrated in this new report. First, social media allow organizers remotely preparing and organizing the protests. For example, Organizers Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes, both in Chicago started a Facebook event page planning protests in their city. They tried to estimate when the Ferguson decision would be made, and updated the page accordingly. In part due to their planning, the protest unfolded very quickly. Second, hundreds of thousands of pictures and posts on social media persuade people to overcome that barrier to come out and protesting. Thirdly, social media becomes a huge instant communication platform where people who can ask questions about the protest and get their answer reply very fast. All these attributes, help offline demonstrations happen faster as well as enlarge the influence of the protests much stronger.

Though social media is such a powerful instrument, there seems no leader to actually lead on what is happening, rather as mentioned in the report “There is no need for one leader—people can come together online and do their own thing, and head into the streets and make change”.

With no doubt, social media faster the happening of protest which seems to be a positive effect, however what if the protest gone too fast end up hurting people’s life, will we still believe it is a good thing? So how should we balance the function of social media in terms of dealing social issues? Moreover, how should the social media company behave, should they have some regulations? or not?


—- Chang Yin


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