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Social Media Creating the “Dumb and Dangerous”?

I found  the reading ” The Other Side of Democracy in the Digital Age” to be very interesting and eye opening.  I’m sure everyone felt the same shock and awe after watching the video posted on the reading as well, it’s hard to believe that in the year 2009 there are still people out there who think, speak and act in the way some of those people were.

It’s very interesting what the author brought to our attention: Social Media can actually serve as a “pre-fueling” tool for supporters during elections.  That’s a scary thought. If supporters are being fueled with anger and hate before a rally even gets to their town, what will they be like the day of the rally? More than a “dumb mob” but a “dangerous and dumb mob”… the combination of dangerous and dumb do not mix very well.

This got me thinking, does the “dumb and dangerous mob” which is almost entirely being fueled by social media stop at just presidential rallys? No. In some way or another, this “pre-fueling” via social media has been going on for many years.  Think of the Holocaust, during that time there were radio stations all over which were broadcasting  for people to enlist in the army and were convincing the people that  taking part in the war was a positive choice.  News of Hitler’s speeches was broadcasted on the radio stations, and the crowds that formed to listen to him could certainly be classified as “dumb and dangerous”.

Think of the news we hear on the radio today, or videos we see on Youtube. I’m sure there are plenty of riots, petitions, marches, protests, mobs etc. being started up just from people hearing and seeing news on a daily basis which they don’t agree with and have a strong urge to do something about.

Can anyone think of a mob/riot/protest that has been fueled by social media?

The power of social media can be a great thing, but also has the potential to create something very “dumb and dangerous” .

Bye for now!

Hilary

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May 22, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material

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