Participation Media through the use of campaigns

Has Youtube created a new media world in which more and more people participate?

Mechanisms such as video activism are  used  horizontally and vertically and is also used for pressure groups. Online videos are everywhere and commonly used for activism and advocacy. For example, The Ice-bucket Challenge and Channel 4’s cancer day. There is not a charity/campaign that doesn’t use video to raise awareness.  Is there a criteria applied to campaigns.?

There is a typology to videos as a way of classifying them:

Horizontal videos- aim to make a change through the  use of ‘Horizontal video’

Also, the use of vertical videos, which is the top-down approach, commonly used in group videos and to exert power on those making decisions.

An example of the use Horizontal video’s, the ‘it gets better’ campaign. Horizontal videos can be cheap and low budget, which encourages others to campaign horizontally, (On the same levels). The approach is spreadable but is the aim to create change or just to raise awareness?

Vertical Campaigns 

Uses a top-down approach which commonly involve facts and figures given, to put pressure on governments, organisations and individuals in society. Greenpeace does a lot of this! (Green peace campaign).

Pressure Groups

Pressure groups are formed to support lobby groups who work to create change, thereby creating a stronger pressure group.

The three above should be judged differently:

  • Do these videos want to create change?
  • Is change measured by the number of viewers?
  •  The uses of existing campaigns

The internet/media has been critical in bringing about awareness (through empowerment), an example of this is the Arab spring in 2011. Particularly in Tunisia  where an uprising happened due to the dictatorship of the country.  Many protests occurred during the protest due to an individual immolating themselves. The video of the protests appeared on the main news organisation channels.  Videos of the protests appeared on Youtube as well as various other video platforms.  The success of the protests could have been down to the role of the internet, as this can trigger, amplify and co-ordinate campaigns/protests.

Hundreds and thousands of people gathered in Tunis to discuss what they wanted, they refused to go home as they wanted change and not to revert to old ways. Their urban space became a highway for freedom…foreshadowing the movements to come in other countries… (Castells, 2013:22). The hybrid space between the square and mobile phones.

The convergence of active yet unemployed angry  college graduates at the limitations of their freedom, they were connected to other cyber active groups world-wide concerned with how to go from dictatorship to democracy- recommend reading Gene Sharp

It is unclear whether the country got what it wanted, as it is unable to qualify for alleged success. However, the country had active citizenship (which are created by hybrid communication space’, between the public and the square (where people gathered to protest).  In other uprisings (Egypt) Social media was an important factor in the protests. For example, the use of Facebook, in 2011 5 million FB users in Egypt, protests were planned on Facebook, co-ordinated on Twitter, spread by SMS and webcast around the world on Youtube. The use of social media was important, as it kept issues alive, i.e on the agenda so it was not forgotten immediately after the events.

The occupy movement is another example, which used the channels of Facebook, the page has 170.000 fans, and the hashtag created was ‘#occupywallst and ‘ows’, it averaged out hundreds of tweets a minute. The other channel used was a website called occupy together. Also, protestors were able to organise meetings via a mechanism called ‘Meet Up’

Various campaigns /protests are able to use different platforms to get their message across. In the 21st century with the ever-growing use of media, such as Youtube, Snapchat and Facebook, enables many individuals to have a voice, as opposed to protests that occurred in the 19th Century. However, during campaigns you have to be wary of clicktivism, you want to raise awareness but to make sure that the change has actually happened. Rather than individuals just clicking ‘like’ or ‘Favouriting’.

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