With the rise of social media and the use of the internet, activism has now become more digitized. The movement is slowly depending on media sources on the internet to gain more popularity and mass support. I am interested in knowing more about the involvement of the internet that has shaped up the rhetoric of activism and changed the way socially motivated movements are heard now. I would be exploring the future of activism and following are 5 topics I have narrowed down my research to:
- Social media and activism: With more than 1.5 billion active Facebook users, social media has become an integral part of advertising and making your voice heard. The power and reach of social media have made many popular social movements dependent on using this platform to further their cause and at the same time accept suggestions from people all over the globe. The validation and acceptance on various social platforms have positively affected activism in the 21st century. Thesis: How much should a movement depend on social media to make sure it’s message reaches the higher authorities?
- Effectiveness of Contemporary Activism: Contemporary activism mostly uses social media and the internet to further it’s cause. With the rise of technology, activism has seen major changes in the last 2 decades. But due to easy access of a strong platform, many movements that started off from the internet are now struggling to find a solid background to support their transition into the real world. Talking about social issues on the internet rather than getting in a group and actively protesting on the streets/ offices is slowly killing the very essence of an activist movement. Thesis: How much of this contemporary style of protesting would actually be effective?
- Effects of mass involvement on the internet: Mass involvement and freedom of speech on the internet has resulted in various conflicts and “trolling” on various social media websites. Seeing the mass getting involved in particular issue and plastering it all over someone’s news feed sometimes has a reverse effect; making people sick of seeing the same topic everyday. This severely reduces the legitimacy and seriousness of an issue which eventually reduces the interest people have in that movement. The constant degradation of the feminist movement on the internet is one such example of this. Thesis: What effect does mass involvement have on an activist movement?
- Activism and media: The media has always been extremely important in making sure the effects of a movement are heard amongst the people. Activist movements have heavily relied on media coverage to make sure that their movement spreads amongst people. Thesis: With the rise in the use of the internet to advertise their movement, how important is the media now given the change in the dynamics of activism?
- Rhetoric of Hacktivism (my topic): Hacktivism came from the words “hacking” and “activism” and is a form of activism in which personal information is used subversively to further a political movement. Hacktivism is considered to be ethically wrong despite the effect it generates for a politically inclined movement. I am really interested to research more about the rhetoric of hacktivism and how the media influences the perceived image of this movement amongst the people. I would also be researching about the political influence on hacktivism and the risk associated with indulging in such a practice by analyzing the Edward Snowden case.