Tag Archives: social media

Revolution Made Easy

Social Media has had a significant impact on mass organization in recent times.

Just for clarification, when I refer to mass organization, I am referring to the organization of the masses for a common goal or purpose. The tools that allow us to communicate with our close and not-so-close friends also allow us to organize ourselves to accomplish goals. These goals, of course, are for direct assault against the government and political revolution.

If you were thinking I was talking about those harmless Facebook groups, you were wrong. I am talking about how social media can be used for a greater goal than could be conceived prior to the current decade. The reason we love social media so much is the same reason that governments like those of China or Iran are censoring it and in some cases shutting it down completely.

A picture from the Free Palestine Rally in Cairo.

Social media made movements like the Arab Spring, which rocked the Muslim World, possible. Specific tweets can be tracked as causes for certain revolts in Egypt and Tunisia. Even though these tools can be sited as a driving force behind the Arab Spring, we cannot say with certainty that without social media, the movement would not have occurred.

Let us consider the London Riots. These riots lasted for about a week and were some of the most violent that London has seen in this era. During the riots, looting, arson, mugging, and assault were widespread and in some streets, common-place. The riots were unusually uncontrollable for reasons that were not entirely clear to the police at the time. Every time a riot was broken up in one area and all of the rioters had scattered, they suddenly and mysteriously reassembled elsewhere and continued the violence.

A burning bus from the London Riots in 2011.

This trend was easily explained when investigators looked into Blackberry use during the violence. It seemed that those with Blackberries were using Blackberry Messenger to assaults against the police. With BBM, rioters now had the ability to quickly reorganize themselves and initiate new assaults against neighborhoods and the police outright in a matter of minutes from when their last riot was scattered. This new ability of the mob to organize en masse made the riots far more violent and long-lasting than anyone could have expected prior to the event. With an estimated £200 million ($320 million) in property damage, more than 200 injured, and five deaths, it is clear that the riots were truly more powerful and potent than those in the past.

Rioters and looters from the London Riots.

I am sure social media will become an even more revolutionary tool in the next decade–pardon the pun! After the riots, government officials in the United Kingdom made it clear that in the event that another riot break out under similar circumstances, BBM would be frozen so that the riots would end more quickly and less violently.

Personally, I find that course of action to be a blatant disregard for civil rights, but hey, it’s Britain, and with their policies on detention I am not in the least bit surprised. Personally, I hope that social media will be used in the future by people in oppressed nations like China in order for them to take control of a colluded government.

A picture from the Provakateur showing detention by Nation.

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All Your Meme are Belong to Us

Meme: “An idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Memes, specifically Internet Memes, have become increasingly relevant due to the rise of social media. They have taken on many forms such as images, videos, text, ideas, and even faces. Internet memes have taken an interesting turn that has made them one of the foremost tools for entertainment, jest, satire, and story/problem sharing.

The original Internet Memes were images and GIFs (basically a moving image) that were usually created by forum users with the purpose to get ideas across in a humorous ways. One of the most widely known and used internet memes is also recognized as one of the first. If you text or message your friends on Facebook, you probably have used it at least a dozen times in the past week.

Of course it is the emoticon.

The emoticon was invented on September 19, 1982 at 11:44 by Scott Fahlman on Carnegie Mellon’s message board. On the site, someone posted a question about the result of an elevator with a candle and a drop of Mercury inside. The immediate response to the question was titled “WARNING!” and was a joke about how one elevator in the building elevator was now burned and contaminated with Mercury.

16-Sep-82 12:09 Neil Swartz at CMU-750R Pigeon type question
This question does not involve pigeons, but is similar:
There is a lit candle in an elevator mounted on a bracket attached to
the middle of one wall (say, 2″ from the wall). A drop of mercury
is on the floor. The cable snaps and the elevator falls.
What happens to the candle and the mercury?
=

16-Sep-82 17:21 Howard Gayle at CMU-780G WARNING!
Because of a recent physics experiment, the leftmost elevator has been
contaminated with mercury. There is also some slight fire damage.
Decontamination should be complete by 08:00 Friday.
=

This message was interpreted as an actual warning advisory and the word was spread that an elevator was contaminated. The immediate reaction to this mishap of misinterpreted humor led the message board users to look for a way to signal humor in a textual message. Fahlman proposed a simple solution.

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E. Fahlman : – )
From: Scott E. Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:

: – )

Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use

: – (
=

(Source)

Sine that original post, the concept of using symbol based faces as indicators for mood and tone within short messages has become engrained in modern communication. Now, there are hundreds of different emoticons, each representing a different face or action that is associated with an emotion in order to steer the tone of the message as the sender pleases.

What about more recent Internet Memes?

Internet Memes have exploded and expanded to a gigantic, expressive collection of sentiments and ideas which today are mostly fueled by the younger generations. The simple reasoning behind this is that the internet in the form that we have it today did not exist more than a decade ago and those who were brought up with the internet have come to embrace the Internet Meme.

The title of this post, All Your Meme are Belong to Us, is an adaptation of the popular Internet Meme “All your base are belong to us.” The origin is from the semi-popular 1991 Japanese video game, Zero Wing. The game’s poor English translation includes many nonsensical statements like “What happen?,” “What you say!,” “Take off every ‘Zig’!,” and “All your base are belong to us.” This meme indirectly contributed to the development of a much larger meme known as “Engrish,” or the resulting message when a non-English speaker poorly translates something into English.

How are Internet Memes important when it comes to experts?

Well, that is a bit complicated to explain, but it can be said that many “experts” have harnessed internet memes to their advantage.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, is the former and current President and former Prime Minister of Russia… not to mention that he is probably the most powerful Russian since Gorbachev. He is famous for his personal propaganda. This includes pictures and videos of him riding horses, fishing, doing karate, and playing sports. Not only does he have a huge propaganda machine, he has his own internet meme which is extremely popular in Russia called One Like Putin. This meme was original produced in the form of a music video and song and became extremely popular in Russia.

English Dubbing:

The song became extremely popular with the Russian youth who enjoyed the beat and the theme. Even though it was definitely not the first propaganda song produced in Russia, it was the first one in the form of a Pop song. After this song came out, the phrase, “a man like Putin,” became common-place and widespread with the Russian youth.

This example of propaganda turn meme has worried me a little. It shows how those who control memes can cultivate power and support from the youth even if their platforms or ideas may be faulty.

I think that internet memes now play an important role with shaping the perspective culture of my generation and it will surely be the opinions of those who can command the internet meme that will outshine the others…