Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Does social media have much influence or use in NI politics or protests? #nisocialpol

Tue 10 December 2013, 11:15pm

Researchers Orna Young and Jonny Byrne hosted a panel discussion in the University of Ulster this morning on Transformative Networks – Social Media, Politics and Protests.

11308996675_9e5d92f8e7A panel gave their thoughts and afterwards there was a discussion. In the first part you’ll hear Orna Young introduce the event, followed by Alan Meban and Dave Magee.

The second part covers Harriet Long, Brian J Spencer and Paul Reilly.

11309080564_9dff8f8316Quite a diverse set of views about how politics and protests have used (or failed to use) social media to their advantage. It’s late so I’ll not start to write about the content of what was said. Jamie Bryson was in the audience and I may return to some of his comments.

Paul Reilly has collated some of the online content from the event in Storify.
Photos by Brian O’Neill

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Comments (5)

  1. Alan,
    Thank you.
    I will post something on my own blog on the five speakers. I’m grateful for the audio because on second hearing, its clear that my notes missed some points. And I will tease it out tomorrow.
    I think it was an excellent day. I think that there was a degree of expertise on the panel but also in the room and if I was to make a criticism, it would be that there was enough potential expertise in the room to have justified another 45 minutes added to the QA session which could have facilitated everyone making a contribution.
    Possibly only five or six contributions from the “Floor” which maybe meant a lot of potentially useful contributions went unspoken.

    My own role in these things seems to be to try and add a dose of reality or as some might see it…be a wet blanket.
    My own notes suggest that I wanted to make the following point.

    “Blogging in North of Ireland is very cosy. We go to these events and the usual suspects talk to each other about other people. One of the phrases that we hear every time….is that people are disenfranchised… But the Blogging and academic Community does more to disenfranchise people than any other group. Academics are more empowered than most people in society and seemingly want to control Blogging..
    Party Politics is undermined …no point in joining a party and doing the hard slog….when there is effectively an inner circle at Stormont….108 MLAs, 2 staff per MLA, journalists, Lucid Talk, Stratagem, Platform for Change…Youth Politics of all parties based in Queens, PhD Students.
    Blogging…all bringing people to the Centre disenfranchises the voters”

    If I didnt actually say that…that was the message that I wanted to get across.
    Disenfranchisement is or can be a product of Concensus.
    Conviction Politics is the biggest boost Electoral turnout could have.

    What do you think?
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  2. aquifer (profile) says:

    Parties are not well enough funded to be able to engage people. That is why the blood and thunder gangs do so well, being able to motivate or intimidate young people into doing their will.

    In more developed economies the capitalists or the military industrial complex run the show, which is not a great idea either, exporting episodic crises and wars.

    The downsizing of democracy suits the big money men fine, and disorder puts up the rate of return on capital, so when the daily wail whines about paying politicians, wonder who stands to win big when politics fail.

    What do you think?
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  3. grantovich (profile) says:

    @aquifier Totally disagree with your comments. Funding is more or less irrelevant in this day and age. Social media is free and can get to a much broader ground level base, than spending a fortune on advertising. The problem with social media and politicians, is that the politicians are too busy putting up pictures at social functions, rather than using it to garner support and interest from local communities. Protesters, and organisers of protests are far more adept at using it constructively (for their own cause) because they know how to use it to interact (and influence) the ground level support they have. I have seen enough comments added on social media to suggest that the propaganda and influence these people have, would put the North Koreans to shame…but it works. The question I would ask is , are our politicians too afraid to try to interact with these people? Are they afraid of the comments and feedback they may receive? The fact is, they are losing votes and confidence from the public because the public, In this day and age, are more influenced by social media than by a party spending a fortune and on advertising campaign.

    What do you think?
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  4. Alan….at last I have posted a Blog on this Event.
    Apologies for the delay.

    What do you think?
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  5. As FJH mentions, he’s written up a very comprehensive post on the event. Reading through it a month after the event, it’s like being transported back in time!

    http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/politics-protest-social-media/

    What do you think?
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