Week 7 (10/20/15): Social Activism

In his piece, Gladwell mentioned that the State Department asked Twitter to suspend maintenance in order to ensure that the revolution in Iran was properly shared through social media. I found this idea to be particularly compelling because previously, I had believed only a small percentage of people understood the incredible impact these sort of online platforms have. I know that in the young, college sphere, social media is the backbone to a lot of our interactions; however, I wasn’t sure how this information translated to the older populations, such as those in public office. I find it amazing that they recognized the gravity the scheduled shut down and the potential impact it would have had on the revolution. Gladwell also eloquently addressed the exploitative capacity of online spheres in terms of individual maximization of intellectual capacity, saying that “our acquaintances — not our friends — are our greatest source of new ideas and information.”

I felt that Kang’s opening was beautifully stated when they said “bodies moved in the dark, but the faces — protesters and police officers alike — were lit up by the thin, lunar glow of cell phone screens.” This type of wording makes me think that the power of iPhone and their relative applications are the silent power source of a reverberating community. The buzz of these groups is not only passion and excitement, but also the literal vibration of Twitter updates and messages in their pockets. Kang also talks about the idea that hashtags create consensus, profiles create followers and communities, and networks allow for the proliferation of visual content. The platforms and internet pockets link groups of individuals to issues and communities that are separated “by many weeks and thousands of miles.” This sort of relentless power is incredibly effective in the spheres they address in the article. I wonder if movements such as Black Lives M atter would occur more slowly or even not at all without these vehicles with which to organize.

In response to Mukerjee’s article, I wonder if there is a way to solve the issue of cultural disparity in areas like Unicode using group sourcing. The article provided few to no solutions on how to move forward. This issue affects such a large portion of our technologically literate global community — there has to be a way to access these numbers and passions into a constructive way to combat the fact that tools are not universally accessible based on something as simple as characters on a keyboard.