Unlike Us #2: Understanding Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives
Session 6: Social Media Activism and the Critique of Liberation Technology

Stefania Milan (CA) - Cloud protesting. How is protest changing
Conference Day 2: March 10 2012 Amsterdam, 15.45 – 17.30

Social media are changing the way people organize, mobilize, and protest. Organizing has become easier and quicker. Organizational patterns have transformed, as individuals become more prominent at the expense of traditional movement organizations. Protest tends to be elusive. The narrative of the action is no longer centralized and controlled by movement organizations, but any activist can contribute, by producing, selecting, and diffusing texts and audiovisual material. Surveillance, too, has become diffused and can be outsources to the movement. Borrowing the metaphor from computing, I call this type of mobilizing “cloud protesting”. Contemporary mobilizations can be seen as a cloud where a set of soft resources facilitating mobilization coexist. They be selected by individuals who can tailor their participation. In this talk I will explore different aspects of the “cloud” seen in relation to the technical properties of social media, including organizational patterns, identity building, tactics and surveillance mechanisms.


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