TH believe that social media are not able to cause political revolution

It’s another exhausting Tuesday, but it was really fun! The morning class discussed about theory of meetings and organizations. I remember hours of meetings during my ‘organizership’ in SEF. Oh, those annoying, silly, time-wasting, I-wanna-punch-your-face and my-opinion-is-the-best meetings. As much as I hate it, I cannot believe I survive it.

I have been feeling down lately. I cannot point out the reason behind all this gloomy feelings, but I know I just need to wake up everyday and embrace everything that’s coming my way.

This morning I read a blog posting from my associate professor, Mark Poole. It was intriguing and I couldn’t help but reflect his writing to my own case. He claims that social networking kill creative spirit. Somehow I agree with his opinion. We are too busy spending time online, seeking ‘fake’ acknowledgement’ to boost our ‘flawed’ self-esteem in the hope that we will love ourself more. Oh well, that might be my case. Point is, I am using social media to fulfill the empty space and distract myself from all the depressing thoughts. I have less time reading books and enjoying the real world. I am not sure I am ready to give up Twitter, Facebook, online games, Instagram, etc. But I am willing to evaluate my online social activities. I am starting to invest more time to write.

Today, I had a debate in the class. Having an experience as a debater during my uni year, I have this urge to speak, so I volunteer myself to be one of the speakers. It went pretty well. It’s not as competitive as I expected it to be, but I had a good time. I got help from Ryry related to the materials for the motion; TH believe that Social Media able to cause political revolution and bring new freedom. I was the third speaker of the opposition team. Here’s the highlight of the debate.

The affirmative team believe that social media’s characteristics (interactive, multi-platform, dynamic, fast pace) are the reasons why political revolution happened. Problem is, they are failed to explain how social media power able to drive a revolution. They mention cases in Egypt and Tunisia and how social media was used to disseminate information and gather people to throw down oppressive government, but we argue that revolutions happened because people have already fed up for years; economic imbalance, poverty, and political instability are among the main trigger. My other speaker supports the motion by explaining the fallacies of internet and how social media can be a double-edged sword depending on who use it. I develop the argument on the basis that the kind of social activism associated with social media is weak ties. The kind of relationship coming from social media is the one that is loose. In Twitter, most people follow (or being followed) by people they have never met, meanwhile Facebook is used to manage relationship with people we will not be able to stay in touch with. In order for a revolution to happen, it takes more than a ‘worldwide trending topic’ or hundreds of ‘like’ and ‘retweets’. It requires strong bonding among the people who have lived under the same situation, whom freedoms are taken away and who are willing to risk their life to support the cause. We cannot get this kind of bonding from the social media users.

Real revolution happens in the street, as what Malcolm Gladwell claims. Social media cannot provide strategy to change the status quo because social media are just tools to build network. We should address the difference between social media activism and traditional activism. What makes both activism different is the hierarchical organizations. Social media have no rules, regulation and leader who will formulate strategies. When transition time comes, they will not have any visible leader to sit and negotiate demands with the existing authority. Revolution is not just an idea that people share on the social networking sites, but it takes action to make it happen.

That is pretty much the summary of my debate. I see the hole in my own arguments but I won’t rebut my own case :p  I am writing this down so I can practice english because my professor complained about ‘high rate error’ in my writings. Let’s not give up and do more practice!


Ally McBeal, Cultivation Theory and bla bla bla

I have been watching old series lately. One of the series is Ally McBeal. There are some things I can relate to from her characters and there’s something interesting about how crazy her work environment is. Watching old Ally McBeal makes me realize how some things have changed, especially when it comes to acknowledging minorities. There was this scene in the court where a transvestite, an obsessive compulsive disorder guy, a dorky and nerd-like people were marginalized from the society. They sued the company for firing them because their personalities and odd attitudes somehow damage company’s reputation. Somehow I think it’s not relevant anymore. Nowadays, we live in a place where differences are celebrated. People want to be different. Being different is not always connoted as being weird. Being “mainstream” is no longer the only life choice. It’s been 13 years since ‘The Oddball Parade’ episode was aired and some things have changed in how we view minorities.

I remember a teaching week about archives and how researchers are using archives to see social situation in a certain year. I believe that old movies can also be used as research material to see how political situation and social change take place in certain era. Television is widely acknowledged as a powerful tool to cultivate fear about the situation outside the living room. Gerbner spent more than 15 years of his life researching about this. He claims that heavy TV viewer are reluctant to believe that the world is a safe place. They become suspicious toward others and become paranoid to walk alone at night. Well, i won’t discuss much about his research. What I want to highlight is the power of TV to set agenda and influence people’s opinion about certain issues. In the old Ally McBeal episodes, I can also see how careful sensitive issues were portrayed in the television. LGBT issues was once a reluctant issue to air on national TV. Lately LGBT issue bombarded national TV. Even the US president addressed equality issue in his inauguration speech. Well, it’s in USA. Countries like Indonesia with strong religious culture might struggle and reject the issue for another 10 years or more. But I believe such liberation will follow. I cannot wait to be part of community where differences are embraced and acknowledged.