Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

The Revolution Will Be Online, Not Televised

The Revolution Will Be Online, Not Televised

By Dennis D. McDonald

An archived post from 2007

Last week in Social Media, Demographics, and Antiwar Demonstrations I commented on how the demographics of large protest demonstrations seemed to be changing due to availability of electronic alternatives for organizing and conducting protests. Today in the Washington Post (both print and online editions, the latter requiring registration) Jennifer Earl, director of the Center for Information Technology and Society at the University of California at Santa Barbara, writes in Where Have All the Protests Gone? Online the following:

However, the Internet hasn’t become a venue just for facilitating the logistical details of old-fashioned protests, the place to find ride-sharing schedules and parking tips for the big day. Increasingly, the Internet has become the venue for protest — the new Mall, so to speak — where online-only activists deploy new technologies to challenge governments and corporations and promote causes mundane and sublime.

Those of us with a professional interest in social media will not find this at all surprising. Some might even find her juxtaposition of youth protests against TV show scheduling with anti-war demonstrations to be somewhat irritating.

I don’t take it that way. What she is demonstrating here is that social networking and social media are infusing all aspects of our culture. Her emphasis on reporting the somewhat ephemeral youth-related aspects of social networking and activism may just be an artifact of where she works (a university surrounded by young people).

She is making the point in this “mainstream media” Washington Post article that things have changed in society in ways that may exceed even the practical and immediate concerns of public relations and advertising proponents of social media methods. People are using social media in ways that are disrupting the operation of traditional power structures dominated by traditionally powerful or elite groups.

Again, that’s nothing new. Just as I have found that not everything can be done online and that professional networking benefits from a mix of online and face to face interaction, so too will anyone involved in communication related activities realize that a mix of physical, personal, and online activities needs to be carefully managed and coordinated.


I tried repeatedly to add a link to the above post to the “comment” field of the Washington Post article I linked above. Each time the URL was deleted when the comment was posted, almost as if the Washington Post was saying, “You can link to us but we won’t let you add a comment that links back to you!”

I’m assuming this is just temporary since the comment posting rules don’t say anything about embedding links in comments being forbidden.

Copyright (c) 2007 by Dennis D. McDonald


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