From birth we are told that our ‘actions speak louder’ than our words, so what do our tweets, posts and online presences fall into?
The internet is a powerful source, not only does it allow for the freedom of any individual in the world to vent their thoughts onto its forums, but allows for discussion, revolutionary cooperation, mass involvement, fast mobilisation of a message and scalable openness to lead to the coordination of a physical presence. This is the medium for which we build our thoughts, values and attitudes upon.
The power that a single tweet can have over a group of individuals is honest terrifying, the fact that, suddenly, our world can be changed with a 140 character message is insane. It truly shows that connectivity between individuals with the medium of social media truly is a powerful source. This was the case for the #StopGamerGate movement created by Veerender Jubbal, a Sikh gamer on the 14th of October 2014 in relation to the #GamerGate movement and their followers.
#GamerGate was in relation to Zoe Quinn, who was claimed to have traded sex for a positive review of her video game, but it grew into a fight over how gamers are portrayed by the media. The hashtag ostensibly aimed at eliminating corruption from the world of video games journalism. It’s mainly known for the misogynistic, racist tropes that runs through it, and the string of women who’ve been targeted, harassed, and threatened. It was quite a counter-intuitive ‘revolution’ as adherents of GamerGate confirmed the attitudes and values which the media was said to convey.
#StopGamerGate was then made in retaliation to these attitudes stereotyping gamers, how gamers are portrayed in the media and the supposed ‘fall of the video game industry’. The #StopGamerGate was tweeted over 50,000 times in a single night, being a vital outlet for women in gaming to speak to the ongoing scourge of sexism and harassment.
“the internet is more important and disruptive than [its greatest advocates] have previously theorised”. ~Evgeny Morozov
Morozov makes a good point, the internet is disruptive yes, it can cause an uproar in an instant yes, confirm prejudices and opinions, yes. But can also be extremely bias and too unreliable of a source to gain any information from. So why as a medium is social media being used to set these attitudes and values into motion.
In the case of StopGamerGate, the origin was online, so the end would have to be also. The fact that individuals went online to vent their frustration in the first place is a perfect example of how the role of social media can assist in societies deep insecurities and thoughts.
“We have ample evidence that the social web not only brings critical awareness to issues of humanitarian and ecological importance, but also incites action around them.” ~Maria Popova
People are empowered by their own participation in social media and this is how political and social movements are started. Social media was created on the basis of having the freedom sharing, aggregating and creating whatever content the user desired. So, could these revolutions be the result of social media itself? Would these revolutions have occurred if social media was non existent?