Social media + Social activism = Act!

We live in ever changing world. It moves so fast that you need to run twice faster than you can – just to be on time (not even to take a lead). Decades ago, when social media didn’t exist, people asked only mass media for information. In Russian, we used to call it “sing the song in the morning and you’ll read about it in the evening newspaper” (almost literal translation). It’s hard to believe now that earlier people could receive news only hours later!

But what is more important is the fact that there were few newsmakers who could address to several newspapers, magazines or tv shows. It was the only way to spread news among people. And it was totally under control. No matter what kind of control – let’s name editors, advertisers or official censorship. The chain was well defined, from newsmakers to people through mass media.

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With social media, everything changes! Totally! If there used to be FEW newsmakers, now there are A FEW newsmakers. Let’s face it: everyone can be a newsmaker. You have your perfect breakfast widely demonstrated through your popular account on Instagram – and that is it!

But what really matters is that people don’t need official mass media any more. Well, not at all, but for the purposes of daily informing – definitely no need. Because it has become technically easy to spread anything online. Yea, there are blogs which receive more visitors than some of the magazines could ever imagine. One might not understand the meaning of it but it’s hilarious.

For example. You have a brand fresh idea, say, on how to improve city bicycle system. You are genius in drawing cool schemes and you are pretty sure that your ideas would work great. Before, to bring your ideas to people, you had to go to editorial office of one of the influential local newspapers, or TV shows, defend your thoughts there, make editors be interested in it. In short, it was your only way to like-minded people. And now? Now you need laptop and an hour per day to reach your audience. Furthermore, when your blog (or social network page, or whatever) is quite popular, local (and not only) mass media are there to invite you by themselves.

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Actually, this story is a life case from my city. It is about a real urbanist who stated for bicycling in the totally non-bicycling city and who used to run his blog devoted to this topic. While he posted new and new arguements, examples and so on, people started to mention him. He gained a number of followers and publicity. Unfortunately, his ideas weren’t implemented.

Then, there are a lot of stories about young entrepreneurs who built their businesses on the popularity of their blogs or accounts in social media. One might thing like – hey, they are selling their audience, it’s not fair! But it’s not true. What they do is creativity. They create new business with new employees. They set a pattern: “We can, and it means that you also can”.

In my daily life I work with public sector, including cultural affairs, arts and NGOs. From my hands-on experience I understand that social media mobilize people. When one creates true content, he/she is not a consumer for the moment. He/she is a creator. Yes, sounds too exciting, but it is. We received an instrument to emotionally provoke something important inside personality. In social media we communicate face to face, without mediators. And we are able to infect with our fascination.

Humanity still doesn’t fully understand what kind of tools it keeps in hand. When I think about it, I also can’t embrace it. But I feel, that it’s huge. And I chose my way here. I strongly believe that culture can help the world to develop and go further. All kinds of arts, cultural activities and joys are able to impact the society in positive way. The same can do so called cultural blogs. And it’s not even necessary to make reports from cultural events (although it also helps). Sometimes it’s enough just to promote this lifestyle, with cultural entertainments on the first place.

How does it help to mobilize society? Easy. Culture is a universal language of cross-cultural communication. It is a way to show what is really important. It helps to make life more interesting and active. To leave consumerism for creativity. Yes, my country now stands face to face with economical challenges. But without urban activities we won’t receive socially active and optimistic citizens. My industrial Ekaterinburg strongly needs them. Because people don’t want to live in the plant. They want to live their daily life in beautiful city full of interesting events and positive activities.

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Pic from here

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