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Mediated Communities

Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Era

Moses Shumow

Mediated Communities brings together a diverse, global cohort of academics and professional communicators to assess the current state of democratic mobilizing around the world and the ways in which protest movements are being transformed in the midst of a communication revolution. Contributors draw on a variety of international settings – from Greece to Lebanon, China to Argentina – to demonstrate the ways in which community organizing in the digital age relies increasingly on digital media to communicate, help participants find common ground, and fight for change. Contributors acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead for creating real and lasting democratic change, but at the same time are able to draw attention to the potential that digital media hold for strengthening citizen voices around the globe.
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Chapter 11 – Epilogue: Revolutions and Reality: Community Action in an Era of State Intrusion and Corporatization of Digital Networks


~ Epilogue ~


Moses Shumow

THE DIGITAL era, and particularly the rapid growth of the Internet since the development of the World Wide Web twenty-five years ago, has seen a global revolution in communication, transforming nearly every facet of life in the 21st century—from politics, economics, and commerce, to cultural production, information gathering and distribution, and the construction of social identities. This is not a historical moment without precedent. The development of new communication technologies has nearly always been transformational, from the printing press to the telegraph, radio and television. However, each previous medium developed more slowly, usually over decades and sometimes longer. By contrast, the reach and effects of digital media, which have grown at the same exponential pace as the processing power and speed needed to drive them (doubling approximately every two years, according to Moore’s law), have occurred at such a rapid pace that it is often difficult to recognize and understand the most recent technological development and its impact on society before rushing to catch up with the next.

Any effort to assess the impact of the digital era on community organizing, mobilization, and democratic change worldwide, as the authors in the preceding chapters have attempted to do, faces a similar conundrum. The frequency and intensity of protests around the globe have seen a sharp uptick in the first two decades of this...

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