At the end of the social media campaigning class it is adequate to do a short review of what it has meant for me. In this space I have tried to bring some of the elements of academic writing (referencing, examples, etc) so that I could strongly back up my opinion. I am not going to do that in this post which I want to keep more personal, a reflection of my own work and evolution of thinking.
Looking back at the blogs posted, I think it is obvious that for me this blog space allowed me to take two routes that are somehow connected. First, I tried to explore some topics that I was interested before such as Occupy Wall Street and Open Access Movement and tried to question it as tools for participation and activism. At the same time, the class and this space presented me with news topics and tools, such as digital mapping and photographic metadata. I tried to approach these topics as a learning experience mostly but I also wanted to question them using the academic framework that I am to. Most likely not an 100% success on either approach, but definetely an enriching experience.
On a more general level, I want to point out how a lot of the work surrounding online platforms and its political consequences have gone through a weird history. Taking a look at studies and books around the time the Web 2.0 was created, it seems that there was the dismissal of critical analysis towards an all or nothing view. Notions that this new medium would revolutionalize the wold, that it would democracy and plurality everywhere and to everyone seem farfecth right now. However, wasn’t that the discourse that people adopted to explain the Arab Spring, the so-called Twitter revolution?
A couple of “internet revolutions” later we are surprisingly left with more than just skepticals. It seems that we are finally facing a moment in academia (and elsewhere I am sure) where the study of the new medium is focusing not on the technical possibilities but instead on how people use it. Indeed, what I take from this class, and this is probably what has marked me the most, is that the technology is nothing without social and individual’s appropriation. The same way we must never address current events with simplifying frames, we should never approach all participatory tools with the same frame: we need to remain attuned to the particular, concrete and contextual. In the end, it is people and not technology who create the successess of participatory tools and activism online.