Thursday, January 5, 2012

Social media

Here we are in a new year.

I trust all is well with your cookie-cutter left agenda.

But let's reflect on the year past, 2011. It was a year that saw much social upheaval globally.

Beginning with Tunisia, wide unrest spread to Egypt, downing Mubarak and his iron-fisted reign of 30 odd years. From there, it lept to other parts of the Middle East, such as Yemen, Syria, and parts of Saudi Arabia, but we don't talk about that in western media - any crackdowns the Saudis do is fine by us.

And let's not forget Libya - the 'freedom fighters' there were loaded to the hilt by NATO, and their dictator Gaddafi, who had at least spread some of the country's oil wealth around, was executed in a flash of mob violence after being sodomised with a weapon.

All clearly in accordance with international law.

The 'no-fly zone' cheer-leaded by own Kevin Rudd transformed into much more than a simply a no-no on planes, but more or less a western funded civil war.

All of this was praised unashamedly from the left, especially left media, who portrayed all of this bloodshed as a godsend for all of the country's people, and somewhat romanticised, just as the right romanticised the Iraq excursions.

Whether the cause was just or not, violent social unrest is not romantic.

I use the term romanticised, because soon enough the west had its own 'uprising' in the form of the #occupy movement, with the aim of occupying America's capitalistic powerhouse, Wall Street.

Protest suddenly became 'good' again, and it was quickly joined by a few celebrities to gain some airtime, uh, I mean, show their solidarity with the common folk.

What was the vehicle carrying all of this fuss?

Pissed off muslims... oh, and social media.

I'm aware it's ironic to deride social media by using a form of it, but let me explain...

Let's look at Twitter, all the trendy in-the-know journalists have it. They may have tens of thousands of followers, and no doubt it's become an extremely powerful and useful tool for gathering things on the grapevine that they may otherwise miss.

But their tweets aren't well-researched articles, but they are at least a type of journalism. In the 24 hour news cycle that has even been distilled down into the '24 second' news cycle, it's about who has the first credible nibble.

The 'twittersphere', as it's called, is mainly occupied by the upper middle classes as it is, which rings true for most forms of social media.

So what happens when ordinary people, still of much of the same breed and ilk, decide to have their own uprising against people of the ultra upper ilk? We get popular people to follow on twitter, popular middle class dinner table political talks, popular Facebook pages, and popular news stories on how they're staging an uprising against their masters.

And who could blame 'em? Bankers fleecing interest off your mortgage, bosses shafting you, no employment, retirement funds played with in the global casinos of stock markets... come to think of it, that all makes me pretty damn mad, too.

But all of this does not translate into a true popular uprising.

The whole western political establishment is not geared that way - people know that, sure things may not be the way they like it, but it's impossible to completely provoke western governments into all-out conflict with them over these matters.

Given that situation, we do however have crafty politicians that can naturally translate the rage into political profit. It's called 'campaigning' - you know, the things they'll talk about, like equal opportunity, a fair go, all the stuff that will never completely translate into anything truthful in real life as things stand.

Obama briefly tapped into this rage that was building years ago - the 'yes we can' mantra energised a whole group of people, and he did ride a wave of popularity on it.

Since then, it's fallen to the wayside.

But let's take a step back. Middle class outrage is still about the aforementioned middle class problems, concerns, and interests.

It makes for a strong audience base, which, in just one example, can translate into tens of thousands of twitter followers.

If you're in a western democratic country tonight, chances are you'll have access to a meal and somewhere warm and dry to sleep, and with a billion starving people in the world, that might not be an option.

Would those billion people be tweeting, what would they be saying?

"Found a rat... awesome."

And most likely, our own hundreds of thousands of homeless might be tweeting the same thing.

I suppose the beauty would be if the technology reaches them, then we can become more aware of their predicament, but it doesn't provide for a strong audience base. Frankly, who gives a crap, right?

Social media here is still inherently selfish, and I'd be wary of any popular agenda trying to be setup through it.

It will ultimately only lead to serve the political ambitions of either persuasion.

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