LET’S TALK SERIES: Why online activism doesn’t go beyond a point

The hyper-connected world is a doubled edged sword. Today it is very easy, quick and economical to launch an agitation, campaign or a revolution with the help of social media, smart phones, internet and telecommunication devices.
Be it Arab Spring seven years ago, or #metoo or #timesup or #iamwhatever campaigns they were created in a day and were all over the world within a short span of weeks. But the problem is it is becoming very difficult to sustain them beyond a season.
This maybe because once the revolution becomes global people from all walks of life start contributing to it. They bring their personal stories, interpretations and also react from their position of understanding and evolution. This sudden information avalanche leads to sensory overload among the followers or foot soldiers as well as onlookers who sit on the fringe gauging where to take a plunge or not.
Psychologists have been saying that humans are not programmed to such high levels of sensory and information onslaughts as is witnessed in the age of hyper connection over the last one decade.
This leads to a slight or complete shutdown among the recipient of the information. They either tune off or tune out of the constant barrage of information. This is reflected in their deleting information without reading it, blocking information source, or rolling their eyes with a silent “there you go” expression.
While they are shutting down from one hyperventilating issue another one crops up to demand their attention and before you know their attention is swept away by new surf of excitement.
In the new age of internet and social media, the crowd-sourced information is the king. However, most of the social media campaigns for change or justice begin with a personal hurt with a very personal villain as a target. And that is the Achilles heel of every modern day online revolution.
The moment personal hurt is resolved or the personal villain is punished or falls from grace the wider audience feels their work is over and it starts craving for something new. It leaves the basic issue simmering in the background.
Those who know the art of manipulating crowd behaviour know that the crowd is a like a primitive animal. It feels simple emotions of fear, anger and hurt. But its memory is extremely short. So they let the issue simmer for a week or two and then make a token action which is enough to assuage the feelings of a group or massage the egos of cyber warriors, revolutionaries and evangelists.
They feel empowered and experience a momentary sense of heightened self worth. Exhausted by a couple of weeks of cyber petitioning or sharing articles they now itch to jump to something new as the “inordinately long” engagement has drained their energy considerably.
This is first article in a series where I would be posing a question the readers. Everyone is welcome to present their views. I would request the readers to post their comments which would serve as the basis of other article on this particular strand of discussion.


About indiadynamic

mediaperson worked for TWI, TVI, Dainik Bhaskar, UTV and Hindustan Times in all the divisions print, TV, radio and internet
This entry was posted in social media impact, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to LET’S TALK SERIES: Why online activism doesn’t go beyond a point

  1. Dhiraj Singh says:

    Very insightful Keshav! Looking forward to more 🙂

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