Minnesota, USA -August 16, 2011 - There are mixed reactions when it comes to groups of people using social networking to take a stand for what they believe. Smart phones and Blackberry phones are used to track where people are -such as government officials - so that their locations can be mapped and shared to strategically overpower them. Crowds of people cheered when it was used during the uprising in Tunisia and Egypt, but are frowning as the riots in the London started doing it as well.Naturally, there is a struggle over what is right when using social networking; since most people believe that 'democratic' states are ideal, citizens in countries that are not democratic need leverage to obtain the rights that we believe should be given to them. Yet, it seems we cannot tolerate this occurrence in a democratic state; after all, we see everyone as having all the rights that we deserve. How could we cheer for this behavior
Perhaps I am over-critical. The U.S. State Department deemed this as being a 'techno-expert' lead movement when it occurred in the Middle Eat. When Egypt shut down all of this communication, the rest of the world went crazy and demanded that Egypt have access to it again. After all, freedom to communicate with others and fight for freedom should be a human right. However, we continue to shake our fingers at the rioters in the UK.
The term 'rioters' says it all; it is a negative term as opposed to 'freedom fighters' given to the Egyptians. In our eyes the 'rioters' have freedom, so what more should they get In the West we cannot use social networking in this way, but in other parts of the world it is acceptable and encouraged. I cannot wrap my mind around this dramatic change of reaction and opinion.
Although I never plan to use social networking in this way, it sparks curiosity on the views of protest and petition in the democratic societies. When any large group gathers to even question someone of authority, panic arises and dramatic measures are taken; authorities cannot handle the pressure. What if we started using social networking to get past the barriers they put up Would a peaceful demonstration become violent
Just during my college years, I witnessed a group of students standing outside of the chancellors' building; students were chanting to get answers and it was peaceful. However, police arrived and even hit students and forced them into police cars. Later the university sent out an e-mail of apology to everyone for the inappropriate reaction.
If these students used this 'social networking' method at that time, would the outcome be different Could students get the response that they wanted instead of being treated like criminals We can have peaceful demonstrations, but authorities always see it as a threat no matter what.
Where do we stand when it comes to expression and the use of social networking Should we view it any differently when it comes to place and circumstance We are humans and we have a right to communicate and gather to protest.