Social Media, Social Justice

May 24th, 2011 by Editor B

Twitter Revolt Logo (burst)

After the Beyond Jena forum in January of 2009, I had the idea for putting together a one-day conference on the intersection of social media and social justice.

Alas, though I blew some hot air around the office, I never actually did it. A combination of distractions and personal lethargy (on my part) got in the way. I allowed the idea to languish while we looked for grant money to fund it, when in reality we could probably have done the whole thing on a shoestring.

But that’s all water through the spillway now. I’m looking forward to Rising Tide VI, and I may have a chance to program a panel on this topic.

Much as I’d like to think the title of this post says it all, perhaps I should unpack it a little. Social Media, Social Justice. More and more people around the world use blogs and social network services. Their power to connect people and publish diverse voices raises questions about the possibility of using new media as organizing tools for social change. For example, blogs played a crucial role in organizing protests in Jena, Louisiana, in 2007. I’m interested in examining the intersection and interaction of social media with the struggle for a more just and humane society. Do tools such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, et cetera, facilitate such work, and if so how? What are some concrete examples? We’ve all heard about the revolution in Egypt, but what’s going on locally? I’m also interested in critical perspectives. Does social media actually impede the struggle for justice? Are we just “amusing ourselves to death” (to borrow a phrase from Neil Postman)? Does new media present a new opportunities, or do we face the same issues as ever?

I have some ideas about who to ask to sit on the panel, but I’m curious to know if any of my readers have any suggestions. Ideally I’m looking for people who are equally versed in both halves of the equation. In other words, tech-savvy activists and socially conscious geeks, as well as scholars who have studied this issue. We’re looking for local folks with a New Orleans connection, so we can keep it real and relevant to the focus of the conference. Also we don’t have funds to support travel. Exceptions could be made for an exceptional speaker. Above all participants should be able to speak to the issue with passion and intelligence.

Thoughts?

Twitter Revolt Logo (burst) / to the People All Power / BY-NC 2.0

7 Responses to “Social Media, Social Justice”

  1. Janiebt Says:

    Hi!

    This is an FYI comment.

    Wanted to inform you about Resist based in Somerville, MA.

    In the future, perhaps, they may prove to be a good source for funding.
    Check them out:

    http://www.resistinc.org/grants/programs

    BTW, briefly spoke with you at Geek Dinner 2011. It was a pleasure meeting you
    wish we could have had a longer conversation,
    Thanks. :)

  2. David Says:

    The quote about amusing ourselves to death is pertinent. I think one of the challenges of internet activity is to get it to translate into something in the real world. But there are examples, some not politically related–for instance, the flash mob phenomenon and the Tea Party “movement.” But actually, your experience with FOLC is a great example of how something had its beginnings on the web and turned into something real.

  3. Rachel Says:

    Just a few suggestions of folks I’ve worked with: Media and Democracy Coalition, MAG-Net, Center for Media Justice, Center for Social Inclusion (one of their staff is from NO), New Organizing Institute, Media Justice League, to name a few. Feel free to email me if you want contact information.

  4. Janiebt Says:

    Just found this: http://www.meta-activism.org/infobox/about/

    after reading this: Who freed Eynulla Fatullayev? And what does his release mean for Twitter activism? http://bit.ly/ikGDrl #azerbaijan via OpenSociety on Twitter

  5. Janiebt Says:

    Mary Joyce might be a good choice. She is with http://www.meta-activism.org and according to twitter lives in Nola: http://twitter.com/Mary_Joyce :)

  6. Janiebt Says:

    I emailed Ms. Joyce with the Rising Tide info and this particular post.
    Also sent you a copy!! :)

  7. b.rox » Blog Archive » After Tide Says:

    [...] Here’s the panel I helped put together for Rising Tide on “Social Media, Social Justice.” [...]

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