Citizen Journalism and Social Activism Through Social Media

Hey bloggers! Let’s talk about the new and upcoming opportunities for citizen journalism and/or social activism through social media.  The internet has drastically altered through the years, including an increase of users and more options and opportunities.  The internet offers a countless number of websites that help peers contact with others, watch TV shows and movies, listen to music, do online banking and shopping, read articles, play games and the list goes on!

I read an article called The Digital Revolution, the Informed Citizen, and the Culture of Democracy written by Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn.  It is about the elections in 2000 and how Americans were able to vote online. This was a new voting strategy and 64 percent of the voters used online voting.  Jenkins and Thorburn state that the World Wide Web is already a powerful influence on many aspects of American political life. This is true, because now we are able to proceed with political movement’s right in our very own home.  This was a step in upgrading the level of efficiency on the internet through peer media. 

An article named Blogs, Twitter, and Breaking News: The Produsage of Citizen Journalism by Axel Bruns and Tim Highfield, highlight a possible issue in citizen journalism.  Bruns and Highfield state that clear structural boundaries between the Web sites of news organizations and the blogs and collaborative spaces of citizen journalism enabled the maintenance of an “us vs. them” attitude that manifested in a series of often highly acrimonious “blog wars”.  This is possible.  People get competitive and like to state their own opinion, which is completely normal and allowed.  Now that is a known, there are certain limits so these “blog wars” do not occur. 

The article, Reinventing Participation: Civic Agency and the web Environment written by Peter Dahlgren, points out the changes in social media.  Dahlgren talks about the constant and dramatic transformation of the newer electronic media and their affordance. He declares that in more recent years, the net and its ancillary technologies, such as mobile phones and the platforms for social media, have further extended this transformation.  Not only are we capable of using social media through our laptops and computers but we now have smartphones that access the internet as well!  The kinds of changes that Dahlgren explains are occurring now more than ever!  Social media is blowing up and is now an essential part of everyday life. 


Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn. Introduction: The Digital Revolution, the Informed Citizen, and the Culture of Democracy. in Jenkins, H. & D. Thorburn eds. (2003). Democracy and New Media. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. p1-17. NOTE: this link takes you to the entire book (online). You only need to read the introduction.

Dahlgren, P. (2012). Reinventing participation: civic agency and the web environment. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations. 4.2, p27.

Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site []. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.


4 thoughts on “Citizen Journalism and Social Activism Through Social Media

  1. rw08ty

    Social media is definitely an essential part of our lives. The technology available provides us with much more access than what we had 10 years ago. I also find it interesting the number of application available for smart phones that make it easy for citizens to share news and increase awareness about a specific issue. Not only citizens are sharing news feeds and tweets but they are also taking videos using those Smart phones and sharing them on the world wide web via Youtube and other tools. Social media is extremely popular now and it also allows you to spread news to any part of the world faster than any other type of media.

  2. rp10ap

    I completely agree with you that social media has played a pivotal role in our lives. I can’t even imagine how life would be if social media was not present. An example of this is when I wake up every morning the first thing I do is check my iPhone for notifications and then proceed to Twitter to be informed about information. Furthermore not only am I checking my iPhone throughout the day but I am also on my Macbook Air as well. I believe that the presence of social media will continue to grow.

  3. db09rd

    I like your point about how accessibility is leading to more citizen reporting and citizen journalism. I believe a large part of people participating in this act is to get their voice heard. Whether it be with media personalities, professional athletes, celebrities, or any one else, the normal person never had the opportunity to get their ideas seen until the creation of the internet. As the internet has progressed and we have adopted sites like twitter, the opportunity is much more prominent. The fact that we can access sites like twitter on our smart phones adds to the amount of people who participate and the amount of time they will spend on these sites. Good point!

  4. tialow

    I feel like throughout this course we have emphasized how much social media and the internet has grown and how it is such a big part of our lives. Like you said, we use our computers but many of us are obsessed with our smartphones as well. I find myself constantly going on the internet and checking social media sites, not even realizing that I’m doing it… It’s like a habit. This has definitely made citizen journalism more popular. People hear about things and post about it and it just spreads. It’s also crazy to think that we even have the ability to vote online, the world is changing so immensely and quickly!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s