As we enter the information age, citizens and consumers have the power to change the world now on a faster and more global scale than ever before in history. Yet, even as this becomes more possible, there are pitfalls, in the form of online censorship, “slacktivism” aka feel good activism with no follow up or real impact and use of netroots tactics by corporations, scammer, and monied special interests.With Net Neutrality’s future uncertain, and an internet that grow increasingly commercial, can the world’s “netizens” continue to harness the power of digital platforms to create social change?
My purpose in creating this project was to persuade my audience (mostly educated, civically interested adults between the ages of 25-65) of the possibilities presented by online organizing and the “netroots.” I also hoped to spark a dialogue about the importance of this platform for social change and the threats and challenges presented by it. These threats range from corporate “astroturf” campaigns to attacks on intellectual property, fair use copyright law, and net neutrality and privacy concerns, to human nature itself, in the form of cyber bullying and trolling.
My first iteration of the project was a series of tweets, totallling about 20. These tweets focused on some of the more intriguing real life stories and dilemmas in the realm of digital activism today.
Week Two’s iteration was written in the form of several reflective blog posts, which aimed to add context and depth of understanding to the topics touched on in iteration number one’s tweeted references. The idea of iteration 2 was to allow readers to delve deeper into these topics if they so chose and come away with a greater sense of how all of these topics relate to each other.
My final project iteration consists of a 500+ page persuasive essay summarizing and synthesizing the topics examined in the previous two weeks. The intent was to bring the discussion full circle and to make an argument for preserving and defending the digital commons as a form of global free speech and a vital medium for civil discourse and social action.