Social Media is Politicizing 1
From the very beginning of its existence Internet has been reshaping the human society in a very radical fashion. It has eradicated the spatial constraint of communication and has provided an open platform which has given immense power to its users. Ubiquity of the Internet and multimedia devices has paved the way for a new kind of media the ‘social media’. According to Ahlqvist, Bäck, Halonen, and Heinonen (2008), social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks ( as cited in “Social Media,” n.d., para. 1 ). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) defined social media as “a group of Internetbased applications . . . which allows the creation and exchange of usergenerated content” ( as cited in “Social Media,” n.d. ). Social media comes in various forms such as community blogs, internet forums, social networking sites, microblogs, photos and video sharing and rating websites and so on. Whereas traditional media such as TV, newspapers and films are often controlled by the political parties or the corporate houses, social media is free and allows anyone to access and broadcast information. Even though commercial Internet service has been around since 1969, social media saw its boom in the first decade of the 21st century. An article reported that, in the year 2013 there were total 1.11 billion Facebook users, YouTube had over 1 billion monthly users and 4 billion daily views, Twitter had 200 million active users and there were 156 million blogs ( “Brief History,” n.d., “2013” para. 114 ). Furthermore, Duggan and Brenner (2013) concluded that, “Internet users under 50 are particularly likely to use a social networking site of any kind, and those 1829 are the most likely of any demographic cohort to do so (83%)” (p. 2). Thus, we can clearly see that the social media has a significant impact in the modern society especially on the youth.
Social Media is Politicizing 2
The early social networking sites were viewed merely as friendship or dating websites. However, as time progressed all the social media has picked up more serious character and tone. Specially in 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections social media was used for election campaign and for engaging the youth. Later on more revolutionary use of this media has been observed during the ‘Arab Spring’ “the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both nonviolent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010” (“Arab Spring”, n.d.). During this series of movements the activists used social media to inspire, organize and broadcast the movement and succeeded in ousting some repressive regimes of NorthAfrica and Arab region. Now, what we are witnessing is the rise of a politically active group of youth, who have been informed, influenced and motivated primarily through the social media.
Bangladesh has seen a rapid growth of Internet users since mid 2000s. A news report informed that Internet users in Bangladesh reached 33.43 million by the end of April, 2013 with 95% users connected through mobile phone (Azad, 2013). Facebook is the most popular social media of the country. According to wikipedia by the end of year 2012, 8.9% of the total population of Bangladesh used Facebook (“Facebook statistics,” n.d.). Another social media that has given the country’s Internet users a distinct character is the Bangla blog sites. As Chowdhury (2011) describes with the following analysis, “In worldwide practice blogging is mainly known as personal blogging but in Bangla blogosphere, community blogging is the dominating trend. So from this part of the world blogging mainly represent community blogging” (p. 4). From the beginning of Bangla blogs, Bangladeshi bloggers have been actively expressing their opinions on contemporary sociopolitical issues. On the other hand,...
References: Arab Spring. (n.d.). Retrieved September 4, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring
Azad, R.I. (2013, May 31). 33 million Internet users in Bangladesh. The Independent. Retrieved from
Chowdhury, M. Z. (2011, August 2326). “Public sphere and the new media”, Bangladesh
Context. Paper presented at Internet – A new public sphere, Oslo University College, Sologny,
Cohen, C.J., Kahne, J., Bowyer, B., Middaugh, E., & Rogowski, J. (2012). Participatory politics:
New media and youth political action. Oakland, CA: Youth and Participatory Politics
Duggan, M., & Brenner. J. (2013). The Demographics of Social Media Users — 2012: Young
adults are more likely than older adults to use social media. Women, African Americans,
Facebook statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 4, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
Haq, F. (2012, May 7). Social media: The debate on freedom and responsibility [Web log post].
Mahmud, S & Nasreen, G. (2009). Net switching in journalism education in Bangladesh: Problems and
prospects. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 54 (2). p.3.
Social media. (n.d.). Retrieved September 4, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media
Survey finds youth use new media for peerbased participatory politics. (2012, June 27).
Please join StudyMode to read the full document