The Illusion of Choice

Really relevant to ‘Who Decides?’!! Check out ‘Hot off the Press’

The Illusion of Choice.


Who Decides?

News sharing is a thing.

It happens every day.

Humans love sharing and exchanging knowledge. Individuals, groups and society are shaped by flows of knowledge. Social media accounts for a large percentage of traffic to news websites. It is becoming increasingly relevant and important for activists and people with a message.

But, who decides what gets shared?

How is it that some causes and stories gain momentum, while others don’t? Social media has a potential high dispersion rate for a fairly low cost, so is cost still an issue? Is it the topic itself, or are there other factors? Are there political or corporate motives that push some stories or causes to the back-burner? Even in this social fluid produsing time, do big corporate conglomerations still control the media? Do people not share stories they think will cause debate? Is debate unwanted, something to be avoided. As many people commented earlier, the loudest and probably ignorant voices are the ones who get heard, so are intelligent people not sharing their concerns for fear of dim-witted retort? Or does it come back to the journalist, if there are no activists pushing their own cause, #GlobalProtest, and the stories just aren’t there to get shared, how will people know about causes? How do journalists decide what to write about? Why is it that the traditional media overlooks systemic concerns in favour of sensational, dramatic events, economic issues and human interest? Take for example, the environment. Communication is no doubt the key to public understanding of environmental problems. Yet, the environment is not breaking news. It is not getting the coverage it needs. If these stories aren’t being written, or even if they are, they aren’t getting shared. There is no mainstream push to share knowledge of environmental problems. And this, this is astounding, humans are not above the environment. We are part of it, and we need it to survive. Do corporate interests have something to do with this? Or are humans living in denial? Or is it something else all together?

So why, why don’t some extremely news worthy issues, get shared?


 A debate is in essence, an interactive logical argument. A debate can be held in: private – maybe a competition, the public arena – say two politicians telecast, or it can be held on social media. As the increasingly networked population gain access to more information they have more opportunities to engage in debate. Social media is an important outlet for news engagement. News sharing is at an all time high and on the rise, with nine percent of all news website traffic driven by social media*. So if news sharing and engagement are at an all time high, and current affairs and issues are traditionally topics of debate then it follows that social media becomes the platform for debate. A point highlighted by a commentator on my first post ‘News Sharing’.


The Ancient Greeks and Romans debated theology, mathematics and philosophy in the streets, in the pre and mid wars years Europeans debated politics, literature and arts in cafes and coffee shops, in America presidential debate dates back to the 1800s. And in this modern day, do we debate anything and everything on social media? While we know social media sparks debate, is it a legitimate platform for debate? I say, yes. Opinions and interests make social media interesting, whether they be your opinion on a friends photo or your ability to look for shops or groups that interest you, or the news stories you find interesting and worthy of sharing. Others may have different opinions to you; many stories that are shared are controversial or topical, and they might like to tell you so. The interaction and reception of news on social media allows for comment and sustained interaction.


The questions then left open, is news sharing on social media strengthening civic society? Alternatively, do comments turn nasty too quickly and debate turn unproductive and negative?


* For more info on this go to http://jmq.sagepub.com.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au/content/90/2/212.full.pdf+html

Global Protest


Within a few days social media was a buzz with SEVENTY-NINE MILLION people talking about the protests in Brazil. That figure has surely risen since June.

For those of you who don’t know, the protests around the country are due to the 2014 FIFA World cup and 2015 Olympics which are both set to be in Brazil. The nation is lacking adequate health care, education, transportation; drugs and gangs run rife in the favelas, and people are struggling with the rising cost of living. Yet, there are billions of dollars available to spend on stadiums.

The protests have been mostly peaceful affairs broken by numerous accounts of police brutality. Footage of this has been exposed to the world, with some clips gaining over ONE MILLION views on YouTube. The footage of a 26 year old journalist who got shot point blank in the eye by a police man with a rubber bullet, has had almost TWO MILLION views (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6QVLE8PQJ8&feature=youtu.be)

The activists have bypassed international media for fear of skewed reality, and taken their message straight to the internet. They are making and sharing their own news.

#changebrazil is actively seeking a global voice, the YouTube clip, which was done in english to reach a wider audience, asks people to spread their message in any way, shape, status update, tweet, or form (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIBYEXLGdSg&feature=youtu.be). And this is only one of seventeen major hashtags!!

This is a new form of global activism. And with 79 million mentions within days, I would say, a very successful one. There are entire blogs dedicated to informing you of the mediums you can track the protests on, (http://www.riogringa.com/my_weblog/2013/06/brazils-protests-a-resource-guide.html)

If knowledge is power, then these Brazilian activists are empowering the global community by informing them of their reality.

So, do you join the global protest and say NO to FIFA 2014?(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZApBgNQgKPU)

News Sharing

New media has changed many daily activities. The news is one aspect of daily life that has fundamentally changed. Not only is this change found in its physical form, the ‘newspaper’ delivered in plastic wrap to your door, but the ways in which people receive and share it. The act of sharing news stories on social media allows for people to express themselves and their opinions, highlight knowledge that they think others may be lacking and serves as an platform for socially aware or active people who are not interested in writing their own blogs.


In my own experience I have come to be aware of my own Facebook friends who post interesting news stories. The attitudes and world-views displayed through these articles are interesting and intriguing. These articles are not ones that I would actively seek, but because my friends consider them to be share-worthy I read them. Were it not for social media and news sharing I would not be aware of many articles, nor would I know where to look for them. While it would be ignorant of me to believe everything I read, there is merit in reading widely. Reading articles, despite whether you wholly believe or trust them, widens your critical mind.

Do you have friends who post interesting articles? Do you read the links people post, or still to your own browsing?