24 January 2014

Virtual Facebook Creates a Real Protest of One Million Ukrainians

Once people have a voice, they want to be heard. And social media has changed things from the TV model in which one broadcasts to many into an Internet model in which many broadcast to many, not only wanting to be heard but wanting to have an influence. That makes for a different kind of politics and we're seeing it in Ukrainian protests.

Nayyem, an Afghan-Ukrainian, is credited with jump starting the protest movement by sending out Facebook appeals for protesters on Nov. 21, the day the government backed away from signing the pact with the European Union. That evening, about 1,500 people responded to his appeal. [The next day, a protest that was expected to attract 10,000 attracted 1 million.]Nayyem says he chose Facebook, over its Russia-based rivals, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, because Facebook in Ukraine is used by the elite, the opinion makers.
Facebook, he said, is democratic because it allows for instant, horizontal communication among people who trust each other and who consider themselves social equals. By contrast, television is better suited for the kind of Soviet-style, top down, vertical communication that politicians of Yanukovych’s generation are comfortable with.
Who knew that Facebook would be an instrument for revolution?

Curiously, the real outrage was triggered by a November presidential decision to pull away from the EU to create closer ties to Russia.

Click this link for an intriguing synopsis of the way the Internet in the Ukraine changes the old political dynamics that held in the days of TV and the USSR.

No comments: