Thursday, 26 June 2014

Video interview about the book “Social Media and Democracy” (edited by Brian Loader and Dan Mercea)

By Cheryl Jadav, student in the MA in Social Media at the University of Westminster
Watch the video here:

If you’re reading this, obviously, you follow social media!

Has politics and political democracy fascinated you? Do you wonder what impacts and what role does social media play, not only in our routinely life but in something as important and broad as politics and democracy?

The interview with Dr. Dan Mercea of City University London highlights the importance of social media in participatory politics. As he suggests, ‘Social Media is an instrument’ that supports democracy.

As Dan Mercea puts in, the book is a ‘fairly dated collection in internet time’. A collection based on a conference held in 2011, this book is for those who are interested in studying the internet and social media, politics and democracy.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen our social networks being flooded by the updates on the political occurrences throughout the globe, be it London or the Occupy Wall Street Moment or the protests on Tahrir Square or in the Ukraine. However, this book on participatory politics will help you understand the non-utopian role of social media in these political situations. One might often believe that social media is the reason behind all the political upheavals seen in recent times.

Democracy is a wide concept and a different perspective can be applied to the various occurrences. For some, casting a vote is democracy. For others, a wider participation of the masses is democracy. Social media aids the wider participation and looks beyond the act of merely casting a vote. As Dan Mercea suggests, social media has enabled more participation from the younger generation. Thus, it could be taken as a game changing act! An act that enables more participation, probably from the masses that might have been possibly left out.

The interview also discusses government surveillance and the power structures that exist and frame social media. A wave of public upheaval has been witnessed by us in places such as Egypt, India, Ukraine and so on. However, what has been the ultimate result? Has the government won or has the mass won?

If your interest lies in understanding social media, be it political or non-political, watch this video for more!


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