mobile media challenging status quo. smartphones, social media and the occupy movement

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Paper at the Nordmedia 2013 conference, Oslo August 8.-10.


  • 1. Mobile media challenging status quo: smartphones, social media and the Occupy movement Nordmedia 2013 Kjetil Sandvik, MA, PHD, Associate Professor Dept. of Media, Cognition and Communication University of Copenhagen
  • 2. The big question The impacts and potentials of uses of various media and uses across media Not limited to a solely media optimistic/utopian og pessimistic/dystopian approach.
  • 3. Whats going on? The use of mobile devices and social media challenging established regimes Revolution: Rebelling against (the Arab Spring) weaponization of social media (e.g. use of Twitter in the ongoing Gaza conflict) Evolution (slow changing, long-tailed): Destabilizing and/or distorting: setting new agendas (Occupy)
  • 4. Agenda Occupy Wall Street as an example on how social media with its democratic potential and its modes of communication through network structure, both enables and shapes the protests against the financial powers of the world and their role in the global financial crisis. The main characteristics of social media are the same as the ones defining Occupy.
  • 5. Mobilizing through media
  • 6. Mobile/networked media characteristics Speed (the quality of networked communication) Availability (the quality of online-ness) Usability (the quality of non-expert systems) Mobility (the quality of navavigation and positioning)
  • 7. Role of the media: from rebelling to destabilizing From centralized gate keeping to open access and new online democratic voices Broadcast media are no longer setting the agenda without competition Information can not be controlled as before (open access (p2p), file sharing, hacking, leaking)
  • 8. Role of the media Occupy is defined and shaped by social media: open, networked, user-driven Collaborative, participatory, co-creative Dynamic, long-tailed, perpetual beta- structured Beyond the utopian/dystopian dichotomy sub-activist?
  • 9. Launched through Twitter
  • 10. Driven by networked/networking users
  • 11. Right here, right now: constant updates
  • 12. Networked communication
  • 13. Any time, any place
  • 14. Sense of community without a clear cut case and a common language
  • 15. Mashed-up communication
  • 16. Summing up Creating new democratic modes of debating, discussing, protesting through (amongst others) innovative use of mobile and social media Openness, agenda-suggesting and agenda-making rather than agenda-fulfilling: you do not need to have an answer before you act! Occupy is not necessarily revolutionary, but it represents a will to debate and criticize the established power system, its institutions and logics: occupying discourse! And it does so by applying the modes of communication embedded in social media: collaboration, participation and co- creation. The effect may be long-termed, it may come in the shape of new democratic initiatives focused on e.g. crowd sourcing, collective intelligence etc.