The Internet: An Instrument, Not An Instigator, Of Change

The Internet Instrument Of Political Change

Recently, an image has circulated around the web and in the process has gained quite a bit of popularity. What is it? Nothing more than Homer Simpson’s favorite food, the donut, explaining the bevy of social media outlets in which we waste an inordinate amount of time every day. Initially, the donut seems to be an odd medium through which to explain media networks, however upon further reflection the relationship between donuts and social media is quite evident: both, when consumed in excess amounts are unhealthy and make us unappealing to others.

Social Media as Donuts

However, in between tweeting about eating a donut and posting a Lomo-fied image of the sprinkled pastry on Instagram, it seems that displaying your pro-donut activism has somehow managed to become a new property of nearly all of the aforementioned social media sites.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Beginning with the tweets and rallies of Moldovan protestors against their Communist government in a capital city square in the spring of 2009, many mark the year as the inception of social media’s influence on subsequent political and social upheavals around the world. From Tehran to Tahrir Square, many in the West have lauded the Internet and its various social outlets for introducing a new wave of inclusive activism — some to the point where Twitter was actually considered to be a contender for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. (In case you were unaware, these tweeting devotees had consumed far too many donuts.)

Anti-SOPA Activism

In light of recent anti-SOPA and PIPA successes coupled with the backlash involving the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s threat to sever financial relations with Planned Parenthood, many are quick to declare the Internet and online activism to be the victors against proposed legislation that could potentially lead to online censorship and allegedly politicized budget cut proposals that would endanger the health of many women in the United States.

To be sure, both are incredible accomplishments, but is it right to say that it was the Internet that won them both for us? At a point in time wherein we find ourselves looking at screens more than we do each other, it seems we have confused an organ of change for the origin of change: ourselves.


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