What if there was no social media, but only traditional media such as fax, television or telegraph existed in this modern world..I often daydream this situation somehow. And always the answer for my imagination is that traditional media do not possess a fast-acting property, resulting in the fact that unlike the current social media, it could not widely spread the information to the whole world and allow us to express our free speech in media. Moreover, old people could hardly expect that freedom of expression of opinions leads to mobilization of the public in the world.
As for an example, the reading for this week describes “#arabspring” which is so-called “Twitter revolution.” As you know, this is a grassroots movement where a number of cyber-activists took part in the Middle East, especially in Tunisia and Egypt. How it took place is using #hashtag which can allow us to spread the real time situation of demonstration to the world. As a result, the movement has happened immediately.
What you should make a topic is not only Arab Spring, but also censorship in China, which is also influenced by powerful social media. The key person is Twitter-like micro-blogging service, “Sina Weibo.” It succeeded to provide most of the Chinese citizens with freedom of speech, leading young generation to enforcement of censorship abolition movement and the movement for democratization against the Chinese government. Such a strong Chinese government is swayed by the new media.
Having looked at two cases, I think hard that the power of people with social media is extremely strong. Social media which seems just like a tool of communication can be a powerful weapon changing the world easily, when connected with people with strong feelings of changing something.