Blog # 4- Civic Participation & the Feelings You Get

Civic Participation & the Feelings You Get

            How have we, as a society, affected change through social media outlets? I believe the concept of Instantaneity, viewing events as they happen, has shaped outcomes as well as brought new light to events that have happened throughout the world. Not only has social media shaped history by instant coverage but it has given opportunity for engagement to people of all races, gender, SES & location, which has lessened the digital divide.
            Instant coverage has affected everyone, with some good and bad outcomes. For the viewer, it is great to see what is unfolding in real time, but there are side effects such as wrong or misleading information broadcasted due to journalists not having appropriate time to vet sources. In contrast, having instant coverage has provided the ability for events to gain awareness while they are unfolding, which can lead to support from people outside of that specific geographic location. Papacharissi talked about Affect Theory and “how empowerment lies in liminality.” People around the world were able to contribute to #egypt and bring awareness to the revolt. If they would not have been able to obtain these contributors, and real time information throughout the world, I believe that the outcome could have been very different. With circumstances unfolding as they occur, society can change their outcomes and direct content in ways the mass media cannot control. Unfortunately, not everything we see online is how it is actually happening. The feelings we get from contributing online do encourage contribution, but if we are not physically at the event unfolding we do not really know the full extent of what is going on.
            There are pros and cons of Instantaneity, but the opportunity everyone has to being able to contribute is priceless. Closing the digital divide has been shown by Coleman’s (2013) explanation of peoples “feeling(s) of being counted.” Sasaki also confirmed that having the ability to contribute to events via social media, specifically the internet & it’s content, improve “Less Educated “(variable of high school education or below) people’s view of the digital divide. Therefore, by being able to contribute the “Less Educated” believe they are able to have the same voice as the “Educated.” If has access to instant information via social media channels, we are all seeing that information broadcasted at the same time and will in turn all be on the same playing field in effecting change. Being able to contribute without limitations of our normal economic divides has given power to individuals across the world. Whether your passions are in politics, entertainment, environmental, etc., we as a society are able to contribute to changes that are occurring. I believe it is important for everyone to have opportunity, whether it is completely equal or not, to be able to contribute to their own passions.

            Although not everyone has equal access to the internet or other materials, in this country, we do have some opportunity to view or contribute to real world events. By having the ability to gain insight in real time, we can shape how these incidents are being told and expand the awareness for any cause. We must continue to try and report truthful content as that is one of my biggest anxieties for Instantaneity. It is also vital to continue to allow this real time access to information throughout the globe as we will benefit from the learning, accepting, and courage of others.  


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