Social Media and Political Participation (Final Project)

With the proliferation of Internet technology in the world, especially in the social and communal areas , the use of this new technology led to political changes and the formation of new challenges. The online world on the Internet produced new concepts and has led to the discussion of them. There are ways to recognize the view of the online world as a public space for discussion, which simultaneously serve as a repressive apparatus of the mainstream media for the democratization of society. The formation of the social oppositions, in addition, the property of the media as a coordination apparatus for opposition movements and with the increase of the communication devices , approaches were brought to the amplification of the social opposition movements in the foreground. (Shaw, 2001) In particular, during the process of transformation of the Arab Spring, was the role of the new media, that the social networks used in social events by the opposition as a powerful instrument. In the period from the beginning of the uprisings in Egypt until the resignation Mubareks, the use of the internet and social media was a help as a function of communication and the organization of the Egyptian opposition, and the establishment of solidarity. Likewise, the use of social media is in the “Gezi“,  uprisings in Turkey in 2013, so large that it can not be ignored. For a better understanding, the function of social media in the “Gezi“,  uprisings we can examine the basis of a study by the University of New York. In the “Gezi” uprisings were the mainstream media, and the social media made by a censorship ineffective.  The challenging content of social media such as Facebook and Twitter indented by the insurgents and world wide to the top.

The results of the research are as follows ; According to a study by the New York University social media and political participation (SMAPP), was sent on Friday the 31 May 2013 at 16:00 clock within the next 24 hours over at least 2 million Twitter hashtag about  the protests. Even after midnight, more than 3,000 tweets were sent per minute. Approximately 90% of the country, of whom 50% from Istanbul. In the first week of the uprising almost 2 million people have been sent 15 million tweets. # DirenGeziParkı  (resistence “Gezi“ park) was with 3 million tweets the slogan of the issues of the day During the Tahrir uprisings in Egypt, the Tweet sent number is estimated at 1 million. Accordingly, in the “Gezi Park“  protests, the role of social media can not be denied.

The internet is very effective, it allows unlike traditional media, the simultaneous communication between multiple centers, the most important is that in the logic of mass communication changes have occurred. From this point of view, as mentioned above by Shaw, are social networks for different activist movements to provide shortcuts and alternative information, a potential tool.

Based on the definition of Noam Chomsky in his book “Rizanin İmalatı,” , we can better recognize what an important tool the alternative media (social media) are in relation to the conflict of the opposition and minority groups. Chomsky; “Democracy does not mean the participation of the people, but their consent. This situation is brought in so-called modern society or the democratic societies through media condition. What is violence in totalitarian companies , is in democratic societies the media. With the way to let the society make it gladly… the people have no say in the government.“ The mentioned media from Chomsy are the mainstream media. In view of the media and of economic relations, the role of the mainstream media plays in the consent of the quantities a major role, the media contents are under the supervision of the ruling class, as claimed Chomsky. (Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman: Rızanın İmalatı; Kitle Medyasının Ekonomi Politiği, 2006 BGST yayınları)

Based on Chomsky’s thesis that for economically independent lower classes, opposition and minority groups, regardless of their own conflicts, the meaning of an independent communication network and the area for new challenges (social media) is becoming increasingly important can be better to understand. The new communication technologies  were initially in the hands of a certain class. The internet and internet technologies were not as widespread at that time at the world as it is today

The class, which had control of the economy, as the time of the expectations of the Internet grew, in the late 1990s, the effects of the trade on the internet, on the economy were awaited exciting.

These expectations started with the Internet usage of the guerrillas 1994, in addition the protests in Seattle in 1999 show that the active use of the internet bring changes in the political life .(Cleaver, 1999)

In the following section we will analyse the Zapatista movement or rather the use of the internet o archieve theire aims. The origination of new social movements in the 90s,the spread of the Internet and the idea of using the Internet to create a global world, do not meet the expectations. The main peculiarity oft he different categories oft he new social movement is that in addition to  the working class, the minority with identity problems from different countries use the Internet too, as a battle area. (Nash, 2001: 85)

Social movements and İnternet in Zapatista

Alternatively, the Internet is a medium,that uses the news which are not to be found in the mainstream news or were discarded to create  tidings. In this way, a rapid organization could be creat. Enemy Player Enemy masses can spread their propaganda through the Internet. The weaker sections of society can express themselves better through that means of communication. Political problems can exercise pressure on the government because of  the rapid communication. One of the first and most important examples of such pressure, is the Zapatista example. To understand the fight of the people in Zapatista it is first necessary to take a look at its history . Nowadays, the popular movements are ineffective The Zapatista movement is one of the few movements that can be greater can be continued by preserving of results, and in comparison to similar movements,the Zapatista movement  has a large size and range. The Zapatista movement: Is one which arose before the Marcos years, the movement crystallized after a earnest, collective and spiritual quest and has self-organized. Markos presented in many of his speeches, the Zapatista movement with the words: “We are learning by  walk” In Mexico, in 1994, a not very well-known movement has begun to make themselves recognizable to the international community. Called the EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) which is an armed organization, had announced to defend the rights of the people and to  act. The guerrilla movement emerged in the Mexican region called  Chiapas , which was formed by Mayan Indians. The movement had its name from Emiliano Zapata, who was in the years 1910-17 in the foreground of the Mexican Revolution.

Their seperated and famous slogan is “Ya basta” (in Kurdish movement “Edi Bese”) and its mean is “Enough is enough”. Their other main slogans are justice, freedom and democracy.

EZLN made communication with the rest of Mexico and the world a high priority in the beginning. They generally use the satellite technologies and cellular phones to communication between each other. Also they use the internet very effectively to find support for their movement and to make their voices heard. They generate international solidarity with famous people and organization thanks to using internet and other technologies. Before these digital technologies they generally used again communication devices like magazines, newspapers, radio and television. However these devices were effective in their rural area and this was not enough for the international support. That’s why after the beginning of the using internet effectively they cut the using of the other communication devices. Nowadays they are the famous activist group on the internet and they taka advantage of the internet in every sense.

The Zapatista idea is the use of “tactical media” to draw public attention to a political cause. Tactical media means using mass media to criticize the power and government. It is a new and modern activism style in media. It includes short time media campaigns. Zapatista movement has this kind of many campaigns like “Chiapas Media Project” against to Mexico state. You can fallow some internet activitis about Zapatista;

The Chiapas Media Project (CMP) was an award winning, bi- national partnerschip that provide video equipment and training enable marginalized indigenous communities in Southern Mexico to create their own media. It was began 1998. CMP instructors worked in close collabratıon with aoutonomus Zapatista communities.

 Education, health and agriculture of the Zapatistas

The often discussed in the left pane, called by us alternative education has also been implemented by the zapatistas. The alternative education in Chiapas is not really an alternative,but rather the formation itself. That’s what makes the Zapatistas so special and different, that their philosophy is to be found in any type in everyday life. Configuration of the school, curriculum, lesson instructions and layouts on education in almost every field as alternative / critical / democratic pedagogy seems to have benefited because of that discussion. The board of school, annual curriculum topics such as the creation of all members of local communities the teachers and especially the children decide at the meeting .And first the children will be asked:“What would you like to learn?“.

Even if a more student-oriented education is carried out, the Zapatistas have some idea of education.

In one of the Zapatista texts is the following statement:”The schools must be for children the place where the psyche of the collective world is mediated. We didnt take the education rather the learning as a basis because the interests, curiosity, and the learning phase and the – rhytm in every child is different. Thus each individual has to learn by his rhythm. ”

The Zapatista gives people a lot of value.The best proof is that the principles are recognized as the Constitution, even agree with the traitors, the right to health.The Zapatista community is comparable to a snail.The snail is actually the symbol of the Zapatistas that they use to describe themselves. They are slow, but persistently, progressing perfectly and have an organizing structure itself. With the understanding of ecological agriculture they have established cooperatives. Agriculture is organized according social needs. (Eylem Çağdaş:



Technologies which are used by society can not considered independently without the history and their social structure of this society. Technology is a unique feature, these features will be appropriately shaped to the needs of the individual groups. Internet technology is a place of alternative struggle, as long as it is so it will be used by opposition groups. The best example of this are the growing social networks.

This current development in communication technology are always indicated and labeled on social needs. Because of this reason social websites such as (Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram, viva hiba …) as an alternative media are including video application, texts, and more other functions… The using of smartphones increases every day. The use of communication media in cultural and political direction reinforces the view that social media is used as an alternative public sphere.

Despite some difficulties of social media, it carries in two aspects for the political opposition.The first aspect is that because by the spreading of the social Media,smaller groups ,that not represented in traditional media ,have the chance to take part on it. By the social networks they can bring their identity as well their status problems in the society for word. In this way, they can exert a pressure on the government and attract the world’s attention on themselves.In this way the censorships are repealed on the traditional media. Despite governmental censorship and surveillance it comes for the intensive use of social media at social events. Communication and organization can be implemented quickly.








7) UPSAT raporları, EZLN

8)Teknoloji ve kamusal alan tartışmaları çerçevesinde sosyal medya kullanımı

ve politik katılım makalesinden. (Cleaver, H. (1999) Computer-linked Social Movement and Global Threat to Capitalısm.


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