Social Media, “Inside Syria”

Mentioned briefly on pages 82 and 84, the use and repression of social media communication among youth had a small but significant role in the rebellion against a totalitarian government regime in Syria. Within the past decade, forms of social media and information sharing has become a common tool among state and non-state actors. Including media shared in typical online and print journalism, the realisation of an obscurity of truth, (two sides to every coin) is evidenced by how each “side” in conflict reports information with bias, (i.e. propaganda at its finest). While activists living in Syria are restricted by what and how information can be shared, international coalitions, such as the Associated Press have been known to cover events and create narratives for the consumption of the global community, (i.e. the US). Creating narratives is essential to what is commonly referred to as “grassroots organising”. Grassroots, defined as the most basic level of action and organising, typified by hierarchical and loosely aligned groups such as the Local Coordinating Committee, LCC and more commonly known Black Lives Matter, relies on the ability of groups to create and maintain narratives that support one cause while depicting the opposition as hostile, violent, or uncooperative. For example, a depiction of Syrian youth engaging with state police can be read as hostile by activists or necessary for peace by the state. In this case, the use of violence is enacted and justified. Often times, as in the case of Syria, harm or aggression is justified judiciously or extra-judiciously, by means of moral, communal, or religious codes. In short, social media and the communicating of narratives has played a obvious role in activism and rebellion against state regimes since the advent of print journalism and especially due to the innovation of the smart phone, camera, and social networks.

For more information on how both the Syrian state and non state actors have used social media, visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/19/syria-social-media_n_4128360.html

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