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The Flaws of Clicktivism

Social media is good at rallying initial support but poor at sustaining and energizing it. While some of this can be blamed on Internet users’ short-attention spans in the age of digital distraction, most of the capitulation occurs because protective governments turn the social media platforms completely off as Turkey did yesterday in shutting down Twitter.

Social media is the epitome of democracy, a public microphone that enables anyone to say what they want, when they want. Naturally, social media gets noisy, as people abuse it to share useless status updates or scurrilous rumors just to see who’s listening. False information can spread quickly but the truth always seems to ends up on top.

The best that governments can do to protect against social media is let it be rather than trying to control it and generating further opposition. There will always be ways around the great firewalls.

Bilby StampedePic via @utku

People ultimately decide if a social media rally is worth pursuing. As professor Zeynep Tufekci points out, protests require great leadership and management since the most forceful efforts really have to be mobilized offline.

Twitter is a barometer for testing true democracies. It turns out that some quasi-democracies like Turkey and Russia still prefer censorship.

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Big brother in Turkey
Big brother in Turkey
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The internet bill: Is freedom of expression under threat in Turkey?

Internet penetration in Turkey is nearly 50 percent, and it’s even higher within the dominant urban segments of the Turkish society. In fact, Turkey ranks among the top five countries with the highest social media usage.

According to a recent survey of eMarketer, “the country with the top Twitter penetration rate is Turkey, with 31 percent”; it is followed by Japan and Netherlands. There are about 11 million Twitter users in the country in total.

Turkey joins China and Iran to restrict Internet access. Shame.

The initial response.

To this & this.

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Duranadam
Duranadam
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How Social Media Forced Turkish News Organizations To Change Course

had it not been for social media, the government would likely have succeeded in hiding the protests from many Turks.

Turkish democracy

A WeiWei moment.