Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Role of Social Media in Protest

In reviewing the readings for this week, I caught a quotation that I had missed in my first reading.  In chapter 31 Myrdal (1944) argues that the Negro press in the south operated as "a sort of safety-valve for the boiling Negro protest" (p. 208).  I found this incredibly interesting in light of the protest occurring in Egypt and Tunisia, where the government has limited access to the internet and cell phones in an attempt to control and limit the protests.  Add this to the fact that the Chinese government has almost completely censored all news of the protests to their citizens, it appears that these governments would sincerely disagree with the claims of Myrdal.  Here's the kicker, the lack of social media appears to be having little to no effect within these countries as reports are showing that the protests are actually growing stronger.  Perhaps, Myrdal had it right back in the 1940's, social media such as newspapers and the internet can serve to moderate a public just as easy as it can be used to incite them.

Recent Protests in Egypt Challenge Assumptions About Social Media Influence

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