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Keywords:INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE MASS MOBILISATION OF PEOPLE IN THE JUST CONCLUDED STRIKE ACTION IN NIGERIA
The insidious evolution of the internet into the socio cultural setting of any modern society has become something to look into. It is not however the first time scholars would take a microscopically scientific purview into the emerging phenomenon. Different scholars, theorists and researchers have dwelled into various issues appertaining to the new media. Apart from this, the act of mobilization has being a topical issue especially in the area political mobilization and synergy. Thus, it is suffice to look into how the social media can be used in the mass mobilization of people for political mobilization. This paper looks into the influence of social media on the for mass mobilization of people using the just concluded strike action in Nigeria as a case study
The unprepared emergence of social media technology in the face of developing societies has herald change of status quo within the socio, political and economic ecological setting of any society. The advent of social networks is a cyber revolution that changed the course of time. According to Tom Glocer, CEO of Reuters, one of the world biggest International News agencies, He believes that the era when government of a nation would filter the news of what the people listen to, hear or read is about eroding.
Apart from the fact that social media has been able to break the barrier in news reportage; making people know the true nature of happenings around them, it is now being use as tool of political propaganda, sensitization, insurgence and a medium of dissent. The revolution of social media has created three basic things:
- It has aided in building a politically conscious civil society over the course of a number of years prior to the Revolution.
- It has lowered the threshold for engaging in political dissent by providing a relatively anonymous space for political debate in a country that outlaws gatherings of five or more people.
- It has allowed organizers to plan protests more easily and anonymously.
The recent events that happened in London; London riot, in Egypt and Tunisia; the Arab spring and Middle East; Lebanon and ongoing political restiveness in Syria, came as a resultant effect of the unrestricted flow of information via the social media. Professor Norman Vaughan of king Fahid university, Saudi Arabia, believes that social media is largely responsible for the political upheaval in the middle East and the Arab world, He said the government’s effort of controlling it is seemingly failing because the text messaging which is supported by cell towers still cannot be control. He further said that government used to kill revolution by controlling the flow of information, but now, is pretty near impossible as a result of rapid technological development of the Social media.
The people that created most of the major social network sites did not envision their invention to be turned into socio- political tools. Despite the fact that different societies have restricted or totally close down their cyber virtual terrains, an act which is not legally permissible because it violates the human right: freedom of expression. Countries like China, Iran and India have created acts that completely blocks social networks as an expedient move for the survival of their nations. Country like America, who believes in the tenet of freedom of expression, has condemned such Actions.
According to (Reuters) – After the “Arab Spring” surprised the world with the power of technology to revolutionize political dissent, governments are racing to develop strategies to respond to, and even control, the new player in the political arena — social media.
In Recent times the Social media is becoming a force to reckon with in the area of bridging the gap of difference in the political arena between the ruled and the ruler. According to Alec Ross (2008), ‘We are well beyond being able to consider social media a fad,” Alec Ross was one of the creators of technology policy for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and now senior adviser for innovation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Alec said that “If you are not open to social media spaces then you are not attuned to the dynamics on the street and you sacrifice both understanding and power.” Obama also defined the social networks as an environment to stress and enhance the universal values such as freedom of speech in an interview via YouTube in the 27th of January 2011
The unparalleled outreach of social media in mass mobilization of people towards a goal or objective cannot be unbridling condemned because of the overwhelming influence of these networks in reaching the nocks and crannies of any society. The hinterland where hitherto cannot fully opined top issues of public concern are now finding their voices via these networks. Not long, the social media turn to a ‘virtual warehouse’ where opinions are gathered and cleared.
However this impact might sound, it takes years to spark into state of revolution and social media itself does not erupt revolution on its own, apparently, people, anti-governmental and civil societies, have been using social media to rise the conscious of people against the government.
Alfredo M Bonanno believes we must be ‘capable of understanding the communications of the future, because it is this that will make it possible to construct the insurrectionist instruments of the future to be put alongside the knife our predecessors carried between their teeth’. And it is in this way ‘we can build an air bridge between the tools of the past and the dimensions of the future’.
History of social media
Before the recent relevant of social media, this means of communication has suffered years of neglect. The social network was conceptualized has just a medium of interaction and virtual home to transfer or extend relationships. In 1978, Ward Christensen and Randy Suess, computer hobbyists, invented the bulletin board system (BBS). It was invented to inform friends and relatives about coming events and share information. This invention marked the beginning of revolution that change the social and global perspective of reality and virtual reality. In 1993, The university of Illinois students developed the mosaic, which was said to gave birth to the world wide web (WWW).these were the inventions that started the acceleration of social network .Beverly Hills internet launched GeoCities around this time also. It was a service that allowed for individuals to create their website. In 1994, the internet got the name information Superhigh way; signified the advent arrival of internet and a threat for the traditional media. Blogging also became popular. Within the anal of 1998, GeoCities became public. It marked the very first social network. It was created by Great Britain to locate past friends in school. However, Yahoo `bought GeoCities ($3.57 million). In same the steam, google, and AOL started operation. At the turn of millennium, about 70 million computers were connected to the world. 2003 marked a revolution with the creation of facebook and the increasing rate of using other social network; AOL hit 34million users, friend reunited hits 15million. 2006, a lot of social network companies line up to buy facebook,Viacom and yahoo were in the lead but the deal fall through. Between the span of 2007 to 2011, a lot of social networks were established: twitter, bing, buzz, youtube and so on. About 600million people worldwide now have a home in the virtual reality
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nigeria, as a nation, has not been shielded in this global phenomenon. In the weeks past, the nation was in the waters of dissatisfaction as a result of the deregulation of the downward sector of the petroleum industries. For the very first time in a long while, Nigerians were politically awakened and there was an unprecedented grievance hitting the cloud of Nigeria terrain. The sudden awaken of Nigerians was partly to the already poverty searing situation and the ‘cyber revolution’ in Nigeria. The increase in the use of social media in Nigeria has affected positively the level of information dissemination, and bridge the gap of lacuna filtered news.
As it has become a common phenomenon with the rest of the world, the government of Nigeria seems to be in quandary about what to do with this cyber revolution. Apart from this, with a country that just granted freedom of information, it would be logically sarcastic to restrict the use of social media.
thus, this research tends to look at the way and manner citizens, or ‘netizens’, of Nigeria’s territory were mobilized for the protest against the deregulation of the downstream sector of petroleum starting from January 1st 2012.
Hence, the research looks into the influence of social media in the mass mobilization of people for the just concluded Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) strike: a study of the university of Lagos students.
- WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF INTERNET USAGE AT THIS TIME?
- WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF SOCIAL MEDIA PARTICIPATION?
- DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE STRIKE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA?
- DID YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE STRIKE?
- DID SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION TO PARTICIPATE?
AIMS/ OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- TO THE CONSCIOUS LEVEL OF INTERNET USAGE BY NIGERIANS
- TO KNOW HOW MUCH NIGERIANS ARE EMBRACING THE USE OF ICT, ESPECIALLY SOCIAL MEDIA
- TO KNOW HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS BEING USED AS A POLITICAL TOOL
- TO KNOW HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS CHANGING THE POLITICAL BEHAVIOUR OF NIGERIANS;
- AND HOW IS HAS HELP IN POLITICAL MOBILIZATION OF THE NIGERIA PEOPLE.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The reaching hand of the social media purview, within the concept of global village, has given some restrictive measures to the government of any nation. This now an open secret that any anti-people policies will not be condoned by the people and within a split of minute the world would learn about it.
The increase in the activities of the internet tools-social networks, emails, and websites and blog sites-are becoming tools for acerbic criticism as harangue of comments would take no minute in raining on the faulting government.
Different governments of the world are becoming conscious of these information communication technologies to be potent tools that can be explored in gaining the support and ways of bridging the chasm between the governed and government
According to Dr. Ajibade, he said “ there is a solution to any problem through communication” Thus, the significance of this study is that it would help the government and the governed to see a new perspective to the usage of social media; as a tool of national integration, cohesion unity and communal affiliation
From the happenings around the world, social media has re-engineered the thinking of the people and act as a medium of protest. This study makes a call to duty by government to explore this tool also as a medium to gain popularity on its ideological stand and policies alike.
As it has been known that every study would add to any existing knowledge on any phenomenon, this study would not cease to do the same by add to the increasing fountain of knowledge in the in using social media as a political tool and a tool of mobilization.
This study would also imply how the government can considerably reduce cost of governance by making use of social networks to communicate with the people. The cost of communicating with people by the African societies has been snare at because of excessive wastage of resources. However, social networks can bridge and reduce cost of communication through conventional method.
DELIMITATION OF STUDY
For the simple fact that research has limitation in different realm, has contributed to the restrictive hands of this study. This research did not enjoy the luxury of time and space; it would have helped in the adequate facilitation of more data gathering for and better research that would enjoy external validity.
It is not strange that the topic understudy is an analytical study that needs diverse respondents from different locations. The demography of the respondent was however restricted only to the confine of the university of Lagos and its students, who are to a large extent youths.
To light another limitation, the research encountered droughty and arid ground in the area of supporting the study claim and referencing with necessary materials
Another limitation is that fact that the materials presented are sourced from the internet, which might not be trusted some time.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Internet- this is interconnectedness of computer all over the world via a central server
Social media- this is a new media that help in the interactivity of the people
Social network – these are the networks that allow for the interaction- facebook, twitter and yahoo
Subsidy- this is the money put into something to make the cost of production less effective
Arab spring- This was a revolution that happened in the Arab world-Egypt and Tunisia
Mobilization – this is the deliberate act of conveying people to support a certain course
Influence – This is the effect of something on another
Netizens – this is term used for people on the who have virtual homes online the internet
- Guardian news- www.guardiannews.com (a US based newspaper)
- Reuters homepage- www.reuters.com
- The nation newspaper online; article on Nigeria protest of January 10,2012
Keywords: INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE MASS MOBILISATION OF PEOPLE IN THE JUST CONCLUDED STRIKE ACTION IN NIGERIA
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