As part of a proposal for the 12th Annual Symposium of Native and Indigenous Research at the University of Washington, we look at how social media messaging is helping challenge and reinforce the dramatic shifts in social activism. We are especially interested in how broadcast media (such as traditional TV and newspaper channels) are now superseded by narrowcast media (including Twitter, Facebook, and other channels building word-of-mouth via circles of people).
Simply, what’s private is now public, thanks to networked citizens:
Videos are sophisticated, plentiful, and awash on Youtube.com: With Google maps and other tools illuminating hidden camps and cell phones everywhere, social activists rely more on on-the-ground film filming than press events to prove their points. One rousing call for civil disobedience is this call to action by Josh Fox that resulted in carefully choreographed and effective protests around North America. Cell phones are also capturing celebrity presences, such as singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, and graphic designers are reinterpreting data about wealth inequity.
Events are informal, global, and planned via Facebook: Gone are the days of elegant fundraising lunches. Instead, flash mobs and dances happen everywhere from a Wal-Mart and mall in in Prince Albert to the upcoming Take Our Clothes, Not Our Rights protest by the Harper No More group. While Idle No More began in Canada, organizers posted upcoming events in the United States, Europe; and Africa. Click here for a Google map of #IdleNoMore events in 2012.
PR collateral pieces are disseminated via blogs and Twitter: Anti-fracking brochures can be downloaded through Scribd, event alerts are blasted through Twitter, and regional messages are clicked on Facebook.