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Clay Shirky: How Social Media can Make History

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and the list goes on! However if you have no idea what they are, then you have a lot of catching up to do. Social media has revolutionized the way we live, however is social media a good thing? Clay Shirky discusses social media and how it came about, plus the effects it has on our society.

First came the printing press, two-way communication, recorded media and finally radio and televion. The Internet however has revolutionized each of these media mediums, as every medium is right next-door to the next online. They have all migrated to the world-wide-web, however does that mean that we have lost sight/ability of deep thinking and normal communication? No, the Internet is just a tool that enables us to communicate and structure our thoughts for the world to see. We live in a society where information is fed/shared to us through these social networking sites. Look at Kony 2012 and the current events of Amanda Todd. Once a newspaper on your front door step would inform you of these unfortunate events, however they are now online. Clay Shirky discusses how the media environment is “global, social, ubiquitous and cheap. In a world of media where a formal audience are now increasing now full participants, in that world the media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals. It is more and more often about creating an enviroment for convening and supporting groups.” This sums up the social media we have today rather nicely. How we have expanded on created this public sphere on our own opinions and messages to share with everyone.

A for the other forms of communications I don’t have much to say other then I do slightly fear for the print newspaper. However as an optimist I see online and print working in harmony in the future. Well that is a future I would like to see as social media may of given birth to citizen journalism, however there will be times where facts are wrong and people are mislead. Real journalism will never die out, as people want real facts, real editing and real stories.

Majority of these thoughts were risen from Clay Shirky’s informative video especially since I’m a huge fan of social media.I like to hear other peoples opinions  I hope that many would agree with me, that social media isn’t our enemy but a tool used to create conversation and spark thoughts.

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Chinese Internet has always been something of interest to me, mainly because I can’t fathom the concept of not being able to speak my mind on a social networking site. At the beginning China was described as a SICK BRIK country, what he meant was that Brazil, Russia, India and China are all about of the emerging economy while also Syria, Iran, China and North Korea all don’t have internet. China doesn’t have Internet as they have a great firewall, which is the biggest digital boundary in the entire world, thus preventing Chinese citizens to access the Internet. For the last fifteen years this concept of Chinas Internet or commonly referred to as ‘China net’ was summed up well in the metaphor of a ‘cat and a mouse.’ The cat being the Chinese censorship and the mouse is the citizen. You would think with the 500 million Internet users in China they would have more access, however while we have Google, they have Baidu, Twitter is Weibo, Facebook is Renren and Youtube is Youku Tudou. This idea of blocking every web 2.0 services is then cloned in order to provide people with social networking the way Chinese Government want it. This whole idea of free speech among those services is still highly limited, for example you can’t post the name of the president, city Chingqing or search the surname of top leaders. If you did any of those things you would definitely be arrested. Although the Chinese government did allow free speech for five days, which has never happened before in Chinese history. This was when a train fell off a bridge and many died, the person in charge wanted to just cover it up. Many Chinese citizens took to social networking and freely expressed their opinion on the matter. The person in charge was placed in jail and had his title taken from him as a result. So where to go from here? This idea of social networking has changed Chinese way of life and created a national public sphere, which is a first for Chinese history. One day Chinese Internet will hopefully be filled with more freedom of speech and less firewall, a dream maybe, but everyone deserves to get their voices heard.