By Melissa Frost
Our morning routine has changed over the last decade from the obligatory visit to the bathroom via flicking on the jug to now booting up our laptops and tablets en route to the loo. We lean over the sink splashing water on our weathered faces as we peer through the mist to view the weariness of the face looking back at us. “Whats been happening over night?” we say to ourselves.
Social Media is a very powerful tool. Baby boomers love Facebook. We never log out. Our laptops and tablets hum from the kitchen benchtop all night or as in my case hum from the floor beside my bed.
Five years ago our Facebook feeds were friends. The daily lives of our Facebook friends. The people we actually knew. Now our feeds are 40% advertising, 40% political and 20% Facebook friends. So to get that human content many of us have turned to Facebook forums and to Facebook activist pages. Political affinity is one way individuals can connect with each other. One political group I frequent is group number 363770999091. These groups are full of disillusioned Australians. Disillusioned with government. Disillusioned with the right to be heard. These groups give them a voice. Users frequent these groups like their own home. Comfortably walking in and out of rooms enveloped by the familiar surroundings. According to the most recent Facebook data, the average user was “connected to 80 community pages, groups and events”. This is known as audience expansion. Research argues that users reaffirm their sense of self and public identity through the available categories of nationality, gender, ethnicity or religion. Facebook provides a medium where individuals can shape these norms/expectations and signal to others their identification with them. Identifying with a Facebook group affirms or legitimises user’s public choices. This public statement is a small scale form of activism. Microactivisim.
Microactivism is a growing collective. Organisations such as Getup and Change.org have had very positive outcomes through the power of Social Media. The instaneous dissemination of information across the political and activist groups of Facebook is having a very powerful effect on the Australian landscape. There are many examples of political and social change through the power of Facebook microactivism.
Hence why those weary faced baby boomers. Those foot stomping activists of the 70s now reboot the tablet enroute to the loo.
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