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Social Change Essay

3026 words - 13 pages

Contemporary social movements such as Arab Spring and Kony 2012 use the Internet and social media as potential tools towards change. But why are some more successful than others. This paper argues that when news outlets see the potential for change, they “premediate” (Richard Grusin) its possibilities, and make that change ever more possible in their coverage. On the other hand, extant stories that are more reactionary do not get the same amount of new exposure, and remain static. In other words, our media - not just social media, but news organizations - play a great role in shaping current events. I will compare and contrast the unfolding of the Arab Spring story, and how little ...view middle of the document...

The best example of premediation is the movie Minority Report. The plot of the movie is set in the near future where they are able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes. This division is called “Precrime” and the main character who works in this division is accused of committing murder before it even happened. They premediated this event saying that it could happen or will happen in the future.

One of Grusin’s first examples of premediation, was the Iraq war. In his example he talks about how the constant premediation of having a war with Iraq was shown in the various news medias which had started even before we declared war on Iraq. The reason that Grusin gives is that they made it seem war was inevitable and that when we did go to war with Iraq, the public would would feel as if we had already been in the war with Iraq and there would be little opposition to the war. It was said that the protests to this war was the largest socially networked opposition to the war but because of the premediation and the ineffectiveness of the protests many people knew that the war was going to happen anyways. Another example of premediation was the occupy wall street movement and how a contemporary social movement was formed from this. Richard Grusin said, “As an event of premediation, #occupywallstreet is working to change the mood or collective affective tone in the media, in public discourse, in social networks, and in the political sphere so that talking about amnesty for college or mortgage debt or demanding increased taxes on the wealthiest individuals and corporations…not only permissible, but indeed begins to appear as common sense or received wisdom.” It is evident that premediation does take place and does have an affective tone in the media and in the different social networking websites especially when it came to the Arab Spring.

One of the most fascinating events unfolded in the Middle East, “after the internet and social media revolutions of the late 20th/early 21st centuries, and tactics, techniques and procedures utilized by resistance populations during the Arab Spring (Richard Lindsey).” Throughout the Arab Spring it created a revolutionary movement that was the first of its kind to incorporate social media and news organizations, in an effort to make a change and achieve its agenda in ushering new ideals. Conversations on social media and in news organizations about the revolution were often premediated before the major events took place. Social media conveyed an outpouring of tweets, texts and statuses about the freedom and democracy that could take place and how it can happen. In Egypt, this shared interest was built through the different outlets of social media where the idea was set in motion and then organized political action started to take place. Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian Activist, said “If you want to liberate people, give them the Internet.” He was also one of the main reasons the Egyptian...

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