AbstractThe purpose of this research is focused onto creating a certain level of awareness and to explain the formation process of social movements in Romania during 2017 and 2018, that were provoked by two major variables that manifested themselves in the social and political environment: government decisions and social media. I shall refer to the two elements as “government action” and “people reaction”, whereas “action” is the independent variable defined by political decisions made by the ruling party during that temporal period; and “reaction” the dependent variable, that will become the term used to describe the citizens answer to the political and social state of the country, people that have chosen to mass organize themselves through the means of social media, for example: Facebook, What’s App and other social networking sites. I hypothesize that if more people are engaged onto social media activities that deal with providing information related to politics and government decisions, they will reach a higher level of awareness regarding the activity of the state and the eventual social movements, thus, allowing them to become more easily involved into manifestations organized on different social networking platforms that challenge the way the ruling party manages government priorities.
Discovering ways to mass organize is as essential for the occurrence of social movements as the grievances that make people want to organize in the first place, thus the introduction of social media into the discussion is thought to have completely changed the way people are able to organize. Keywords: Social media, Networking sites, Facebook, Government, social movement, impacts. Introduction: Research question: Can social media provide the means for social movement in the context of unsatisfactory political directions and government decisions?In order to test my hypothesis, I use data from a number of different sources that states the events provoking the social movements in Romania trough the use of social networking platforms, and I will try to measure the scale at which this phenomenon can manifest itself in the future, or, if properly exploited, whether it can represent a new tool into amassing large percentages of the population into supporting a certain political/social environment direction with minimum effort throughout the Internet.Therefore, I shall conduct an online questionnaire dedicated to people aged between 18 and 55 years old, employed as a tool of data collection, in order to determine which is the amount of people (undergoing the questionnaire) that are currently possessing or actively manifesting themselves on social media accounts, either Facebook, What’s App, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, or any other social networking platform.This measurement will enable us to determine which is the percentage of them that are currently informed regarding the political and social state of the country through this social networking usage and how they react towards this type of information acknowledgment.
The results will show the amount of people that are considering the social media a reliable source of information throughout the Internet, if they are more comfortable in obtaining their updates on government decision and political directions of the leading party through this technology/tool, and if they ever have participated or considered joining social movement events trough the usage of social media posts.The obtained data will reveal if this new identified tool of “social movement through social media usage” upholds the means to create a new environment on which people are more inclined themselves to participate in social activities due to the fact they are under a common “shield”, represented by the Internet neutrality and freedom of speech, where they can gather at a larger number without a need of public gathering shout, in order to protest against certain political direction taken by the government.In the following sections of this paper, I identify and discuss common approaches and hypotheses on social movement in the literature, as well as explain and test my own hypotheses.
I argue that discovering new ways to mass organize is as essential to the emergence of social movements as the grievances that drive them. The introduction of social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter as a new way to social network, has become the new catalyst tool in the formation of social movements.Literature review: The different roles of social media Internet usage has exploded over the past decade, transforming the global political and economic environment.
Distance is no more a barrier to reaching isolated corners of the globe. Social media is most recent form of media and having many features and characteristics. It has many facilities on same channel like as communicating, texting, images sharing, audio and video sharing, fast publishing, linking with all over world, direct connecting. It is also cheapest fast access to the world so it is very important for all age of peoples. Its use is increasing day by day with high rate in all over the world.
Majority of youth is shifting speedily from electronic media like as television viewers and radio listeners to the social media among all age of group.The literature is dominated by studies of and commentary on the political impact of social media use, in particular in forms of protest. But while these technologies may have helped to change some processes, there seems to have been little lasting impact on broader outcomes in terms of empowerment, equalities or social justice. Nor is there evidence, at the less-publicized level of the community sector, that such outcomes have been or will be affected by uses of social media. Research suggests that networked individuals may now carry out community action roles more efficiently than organizations.
There is evidence that social media is changing the way social actions are organized: not just collective action but also ‘connective’ action. Community organizations will need to adjust to a changing role in the processes of knowledge generation and sharing.Mobile devices as smartphones and other gadgets, allow individuals to view current events, interact, and spread news faster to other networks, the information is raw and unfiltered and for some it may be more valuable than news provided by certain TV stations which are supported in the background by certain political parties, thus they can alter the data in the form that they wish to present it. Real-time images of oppressive government activities and violation of human rights can now be instantly viewed by the world, as for example the events from Victoriei Square were people protested against the government by turning simultaneously on, their phone flashlights to the sky, a number of approximately 150.000 people made subject for news in the United States and major politics debating TV stations like CNN or BBC, and the news has gone throughout Europe, on countries such as France, Germany and United Kingdom.They were pointed out as an example of social activism and remarks were given upon the method they chose to organize themselves, through the social media, more precisely Facebook created events, where people could apply just as easy as pressing a button, then confirming their participation in the protests against the Government.Those protests in February 2017, which at times drew more than half a million people and lasted for more than two weeks, were the largest the country had seen since the fall of communism more than two decades ago.
The government rescinded the emergency decree and was forced to fend off a no-confidence motion.Broader audiences can now be reached at greater speed and relatively low cost, bridging new ideas, people and organizations, states, and social movements. At the same time, covert and illegal activities operating in the virtual space have also proliferated with these new technologies. The rise of Internet activities and penetration has multiplied social movement activities online.Activists and organizers of all stripes have been increasingly using such communication tools to spread information, and the ICT (information and communication technologies) revolution has drastically changed the operating modes of social movements.Study on the usage of social media in stimulating social movements has only begun to surface in the last decade. Although social media is a relatively young phenomenon in our world, works on social movement and collective action has been around as early as the 1960s, providing scholars with important information in order to understand the impact of social media as an organizational tool.The development of the Internet has permitted activists to move from the traditional mode of disseminating information to new forms of communication that prompt instantaneous participatory dialogue.
In social protests, collective action has always been the key determinant for the success of a movement, and social media may play a key role in mitigating in-group coordination and interaction problems. While governments have always struggled to control or influence media outlets, they have even greater difficulty controlling the virtual space and oppressive regimes during period of unrest often shut down access to the Internet in order to block social media activity.Social media as a source of knowledge Studies conducted by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) suggest that the high take up of social media applications outside of formal educational settings provides new opportunities for innovating and modernizing Education and Training institutions and for preparing learners for the 21st century.Furthermore, the social media can be used as a source of providing knowledge and information, the core indicators for Internet take up show that most Europeans are using the Internet.
According to Eurostat 2009 data, 65% of EU27 households have Internet access at home, ranging from 30% in Bulgaria to 90% in the Netherlands. 60% of the EU27 population (aged 16 to 74) uses the Internet at least once a week; 48% uses it every day. This increase in Internet usage goes with a significant increase in computer skills: in 2009, 64% of Europeans possess some computer skills, shown by the fact that they carried out at least one of a list of six most common computer tasks; 50% carried out at least three of these tasks.The ubiquity of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) is no more apparent than at the university. Social media are increasingly visible in higher education settings as instructors look to technology to mediate and enhance their instruction as well as promote active learning for students.
Many scholars argue for the purposeful integration of social media as an educational tool. Empirical evidence, however, has lagged in supporting the claim. Most of the existing research on the utility and effectiveness of social media in the higher education class is limited to self-reported data (e.
g., surveys, questionnaires) and content analyses.Raised in the “always on” world of interactive media, the Internet, and digital messaging technologies, today’s student has different expectations and learning styles than previous generations. This net-centric generation values their ability to use the Web to create a self-paced, customized, on-demand learning path that includes multiple forms of interactive, social, and self-publishing media tools.Instead, social networking sites can be used as kick starters for scientific research, in terms of reaching a higher number of people to complete an online questionnaire or survey, using this method is easier to converge the opinion of a large proportion of individuals with the relative minimum effort possible, also, matters like standing in front of the questioned person or spending time in realizing written on papers questions are things of the past.Social media as source of information Social networking platforms represent a great source of information from a vast variety of domains and interests, without a doubt. Due to the access permitted to online users at various knowledge and data and also, due to the fact that the trend is fast pacing the phenomenon of globalization through inter-communication, everybody has access to this kind of resources at their fingertips. They can be information “devourers” or information “givers” reacting differently at each behavior after their own will, but the main idea inside this internetworking is the fact that information can travel throughout the world in an instant if someone desire to present the fact/data to the world.
This phenomenon accentuates the continuous involvement of the people to share their knowledge to other individuals just on the means of inter-communicating towards achieving social development and an ever-evolving social domain.Social media are increasingly being used as an information source, including information related to risks and crises, like in our case study regarding the protest against the government between 2017 and 2018. Governmental actions were depicted through Facebook posts and Tweets by different individuals that were interested public policy evolution and governmental decisions. As soon as a new law or public decision was taken by the leading party an online debate resulted as an immediate response to the political directions. Some of them were well received, others caused dissonance and aggression towards the way that the government ruled the political and social environment.
Newer communication technologies have increased the possibilities for how people can send and receive information. Social media are one such technology that has seen increased usage as an information source. For example, social media are being used to seek information about serious topics, such as circulating up-to-the minute information about cholera outbreaks in Haiti and identifying clean water sources during this outbreak. Social media has also seen a great deal of usage by those seeking health information, with 59% of adult Americans (80% of internet users) reporting that they have accessed this type of information online. Although throughout the social networking sites are an enormous number of posts and threads related to political discussion it is hard to pinpoint the exact source of the information. Sometimes the news provided by media broadcasting stations are borrowed by online users that share they honest opinion on the subject and open up a new thread on the subject on matter, other times they can alter the information and model it after they own will.Therefore, is quite difficult to determine the reality on the subject, thus, our questionnaire will determine whether the social media user deem the online posts threads, and events created by users to be credible and a reliable source of information.Objectives: · To examine if social media platforms and virtual events can be directly corelated to the anti-government social manifestations during 2017 and 2018.
· To study whether or not Social Media sites can be a credible source of information about government activity to the people.· To understand the pros and cons of social networking sites in relation to social movements.· To determine the scale at which people are informed of such social events through the usage of social media.
· To understand the reach of this potential tool, which can provide the means to organize and amass a large proportion of the population into supporting a certain political/social direction.Hypothesis:If more people are engaged onto social media activities that deal with politics and government they will reach a higher level of awareness regarding the activity of the state and the eventual social movements, thus, allowing them to become more easily involved into the social environment and becoming more active citizens.Research methodology: This paper incorporates the quantitative approach to study the research objectives. Sampling has been done effectively and the tool that has been employed to work on the data collection is particularly questionnaires where the questions were close ended along with usage of tools such as pie charts. A survey was conducted in order to target the age bracket (15 to 55).
The sample has been taken mainly from people that are currently using an account on type of social media platform ranging from: Facebook, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn or What’s App, as they were asked questions related to their level of trust into social media posts about government decisions and their position regarding their participation or willingness to participate in social movements that emerge from this type of organizing tool.The research is still ongoing and the obtained results will demonstrate or invalidate our initial hypothesis regarding the participation of a larger proportion of population into this kind of social movement manifestations that took place in February 2017, in Romania.Conclusions: This research is still in progress and the results are still to come, but once we obtain them we will analyze and discuss every aspect of our findings relating them with our initial pin-pointed objectives. Hopefully, the future obtained data will reveal to us that indeed the social media platforms can significantly contribute to social movements, in terms of amassing a higher percentage of the population to participate in such events that have at its primordial source elements branched from social networking platform.
Furthermore, taking in mind the fact that these tools are easily accessible to people possessing an online account and with an interest in government decisions and the general trend of the ruling party political and public policy directions, we can state that on the near future such social manifestations shall become more and more popular amount the citizens as they offer them the proper conditions to set up groups of people that challenge the way the government manages its priorities.As a conclusion, I consider that this emerging “tool” will become a major factor to take in mind when discussion the society’s reaction to public policies and government ruling.