Social Media and the Illusion of Action

The other day I got caught up in following Kester Brewin’s tweets on the Apple 8 Media: Social Media and Political Action event he was covering on twitter (see those comments here).  There were a number of things he quoted there that really stood out, so I was eager to read more about what happened at Apple 8. He’s now posted about the event and some of the slides, audio and notes. I look forward to digging into this more, but here’s a little nugget that is fantastic.

One of the most interesting points was about the confusion between communication and action. Interaction with social media can make us feel as if we are involved in something, and are doing something. This is a mistake. Luke was very clear: to communicate is not to act; power is still about meeting face to face.Social media can thus be hugely effectively tools for mobilisation, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that online participation is achieving anything concrete. Moreover, social media does not only give us the illusion of action, it can drain energy from real activism as people already feel that they have acted.

via Kester Brewin » Social Media and the Illusion of Action.

Published by Wess Daniels

Teacher, author, Quaker, ​and public theologian. Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College.

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