The Power of Word(press)- Convergence in Action

“Words can light fires in the minds of men”. – Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

As the key to expression and the conduit for discussion, the importance of words cannot be understated.

The power of words cannot be understated

The power of words cannot be understated

Amongst other things, this blogging exercise has been a learning curve in mastering words. Just like a window-front should display a store’s most appealing items, a blog needs a catchy title and engaging hook to draw in potential consumers. Clever emotive titles and hooks in the three posts I consider to be my best, Heralding a New Dawn, Spellbinding- The Magic of Transmedia Storytelling and Thinking Global, Acting…at all?, encouraged viewers to read further. Furthermore, incorporating unique and quirky experiences in the introductions of Heralding a New Dawn and Spellbinding- The Magic of Transmedia Storytelling allowed my personal voice to carry through with strength.

However words are just one piece to the complex puzzle of blogging. As I have learned, incorporating a diverse range of videos, quotes, pictures and examples into a post are vital to engagement. Mastering convergence in action so to speak! Heralding a New Dawn was the first piece where I effectively combined these things, while I consider Thinking Global, all? to be my most successful post in this respect. For a subject in which the content can be very theoretical, it were these three posts that addressed issues relevant to my own future and interests; journalism as a profession, my continued childhood obsession with Harry Potter, and the changing face of activism. One of the most eye-opening discoveries I made was that journalism is not as straightforward as it once was and that it is essential to master online skills such as blogging to succeed in its developing digital age.

This exercise has raised many important issues that our generation faces in a rapidly evolving convergent environment. Furthermore, it has equipped me with the necessary skills to deal with these changes as I head towards a career in media and communications.


Thinking Global, Acting…at all?

Actions speak louder than likes

If only it were that simple...

If only it were that simple…

Wouldn’t it be great if solving all the problems in the world was simply a matter of clicking a button? One small contraction of a fingertip muscle and all forms of poverty, famine and injustice would vanish in an electronic pulse through the web. One millisecond later could see us sitting complacently on a wharf with Charlie Brown, watching life drift by in a sea of serenity. Alas, a utopian fantasy that unfortunately does not translate to reality.

Whilst we all may dream of effectuating social change, converting this dream into real life actions is another story. Technological convergence has changed the face of activism and facilitated the development of global participatory politics. Social networks and new media are connecting people from all walks of life like never before, equipping citizens with a voice and thus the power to promote social change. But how effective is online activism in creating REAL change?

It is undeniable that social networks have helped to coordinate action across dispersed networks, for example in the 2011 Egypt Uprisings, and The American Occupy and Spanish Indignados movements. Social networks are accommodating an alternate method of political engagement, creating a culture in which “ questions of dialogue, dissent, critical engagement and global responsibility can come into play”. In fact politicians have recognised this fundamental shift in engagement and have moved to accommodate it, expanding their campaigns onto social media platforms such as Pinterest to tap into this online pool of political intelligence. Both the Obama and Romney families created pinboards during the 2012 American Presidential campaign that contrasted personal and political content to create an online base to engage the public.

However, many argue that online political engagement and activism is “superficial”, lacking the community ties that drive social change. Whilst Kony 2012 succeeded in terms of its ‘spreadability’, informing a global audience of the social injustice surrounding Joseph Kony and child soldiers, it failed in generating REAL LIFE ACTION- in mobilising crowds to bring Kony in. This campaign is a perfect example of “slacktivism”. When fighting for a cause can be as simple as liking a Facebook page, or retweeting a link, there is no cost to participate, no risk to the individual and thus no obligation to see a project through.

So while online activism allows for dissemination, coordination and civic engagement, what it lacks is the commitment of participation. However, as Nelson Mandela said “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. The informative benefits of online activism could be the first steps to generating REAL change. Where Kony 2012 failed, others may succeed in the future. While we are all ‘thinking global’, it may take a little time to act ‘local’ or even at all. One day Charlie…, but not just yet.

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