Digital freedom is a person’s right to post/write/share any information they desire on the internet. Some governments around the world are trying to restrict digital freedom, at times without public knowledge as to let such law pass without public debate or hassles. The People’s Republic of China is considered to be the world’s strictest government body in relation to internet censorship and the freedom of digital information.
The introduction of the internet has made it very difficult for companies to protect their products and assets from being freely shared by its users. Maintaining copyright is imperative to protecting its financial value and society’s norms of capitalism.
2 modes of capitalism:
‘Incumbent wing’ – Entertainment companies, which are in favour of the copyright otherwise file/product sharing leads to loss of sales and revenue.
‘Vectoralist class’ – users that feed off this common production eg. Facebook, E-bay, Amazon, Google, Microsoft.
The Vectoralist class aren’t as noble as they would like you to believe as they do it for their own financial gain and benefit whilst making it appear to give liberty of express to its users.
2 sides of digital expression:
– Such software programes offer a horizonal and free structure of information exchange
– Those who criticize this specifically digital capitalism that was founded on data capture
There are 2 types of capitalism stated: Network and Material. They may be slightly different forms, yet they are not completely different or separate from each other. Financial capitalism is very much integrated in digital capitalism. It functions on the same formula of production and expansion, and with some sites/software, continual payments/upgrades (even after the initial purchase).
This will not result in a clash of 2 capitalisms, but instead a reconfiguration.
Anonymous is for digital freedom and provides alternatives to corporate social communication sites. They are in support of Wikileaks and attack any organisation they believe blocks digital expression and freedom. Anonymous are very integrated in the social activist movement, providing multiple channels for political debate amongst users and creating a non-hierarchical environment in the process.
They do not want to associate themselves with leadership or fame. They provide an inverted alternative to the current culture of digital communication. No-one is ifentified with one’s own name, nor do they allow individual attention seeking behaviour. People in Anonymous who more invested in the project have a natural authority, but that does not mean they are more influential as a result. Anyone can speak with the vertical mass media on an individual level, but no-one is allowed to themselves as a representative unless they are involved directly with the given action, or else they face expulsion.
It is predicted that the convergence of the net and the streets will only get stronger as time goes on.
Social Media Activism:
Social media is changing the way activism, of a political or charitable nature, plays out in our environment. People are split as to whether it is having a positive or a negative influence. Some argue that social media is “Slacktivism” and clicking like on a facebook page is completely void and does nothing to assist charities to make a buck. It is only providing the user with a false sense of accomplishment.
On the other side of the argument, is the widely expanded exposure that sharing these links/videos (whether a person contributes their time/money beyond this or not) brings to a greater audience. As Kessler says, the basic act of ‘liking’ something is “the first step in a ladder of engagement”. The ability of social media to instantaneously connect large numbers of people interested in supporting whatever specific issue has never been at the level it is now, by connecting such masses with instant updates etc…without the issues of bureaucracy to stand in its way.
Organising these groups of people can have a significant impact. By funneling the interest of people, some organisations feel that they could turn some of those clicked likes (loose ties) into more active users and create tight ties or “activists” – they’d essentially climb the ladder of involvement by making steps via social media then ultimately head to a gathering/meeting etc to get more involved. It is somewhat of a gateway for the user to deeper engagement in the future.
Social media being incorporated into activism is only in its infancy. It’s a new digital age where providing information to a mass audience can only be improved and grow. The strategies and campaigns of activism through social media are testing new ground, and with time can only improve with its efficiency.
Q. What do you think will be some of the future pros and cons for social activism?
Q. How do you feel about the Australian government’s plans to monitor users online activity? Safety or Invasion of privacy?