The power of social media: lessons for Ukraine
Influence of social media on political processes in Ukraine, in particular on the events of 2013-2014, called the Revolution of Dignity. Advantages and threats of such access to alternatives in comparison with classical audiovisual and printed media.
|Рубрика||Журналистика, издательское дело и СМИ|
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The power of social media: lessons for Ukraine
Nowadays the media, commerce, services and communication moves towards world web. According to the International Telecommunication Union, at the end of 2015 in the world there were more than 3 billion Internet users .
The spread of the Internet and increasing the number of its regular users leads to the transformation of the modern media market, new media services, which causes the formation of the new media environment for political self-organization of citizens.
For example, Apple corporation which made a revolution in the mobile market, releasing their first tablet computers (Ipad), which were sold in quantities of more than 250 mln. pcs., as well as the most popular smartphone ever - an Iphone which both caused an overview of the traditional approach of PC usage, but also accelerated the development of new social media, news resources and services that are now available in real time. Popularity of tablet computers has led to the collapse of the sale table PC's and strongly shaken positions the notebook market. Note that this example of technological breakthrough of Apple became the impetus for the production of similar or other products and services such technology giants as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Samsung, Facebook and emerging Chinese companies such as Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi and others. This led to significant changes in the market as mobile devices and computers, and media environment, any media and new services among which can be called social networks, online versions of newspapers and magazines, news resources, online banking, Internet TV, Internet radio, numerous instant messengers etc.
Today the market of IT-services and new media has become so powerful that the most expensive brands in the world lists first 4 positions occupied by the companies producing electronics and software, including the already mentioned Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and in the top ten in general only 2 companies representing the food business (McDonalds, Coca-Cola) . Significantly, the 10 most expensive brands, the two companies are in fact the world's most popular social networks (Facebook, Twitter).
Modern information and communication technologies and innovative capabilities of mass communication, which social media provide becomes a more important factor influencing the life and development of mankind. The advantages of this kind of media is unprecedented efficiency, availability, capacity, and most importantly - the interactivity and network architecture that enables and even encourages unlimited growth of their audience. That said, social media became the most popular part of the modern Internet, which is used every day by more than 3 billion people, 2.4 of whom actively are using social media.
Over 80% of companies worldwide are using social networks at its business. About 78% of people trust messages from social networks more than to its traditional sources of information and advertising . The potential power of social media is enough sufficient to use them to organize a full-scale social cataclysm (just like «blogs revolutions» in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen).
The election campaigns of 2010-2012 in Ukraine also confirmed this trend. However, those electoral campaigns couldn't eve closely compete with the events in Ukraine late 2013 - early 2014. «The Revolution of a Dignity» or «Euromaidan» not only led the collapse of Yanukovych regime and final reorientation of Ukrainian state for European vector of foreign policy, but also once again demonstrated the power of media component of the political processes. This new social media have become a springboard for protest communication and source alternative information comparing to the government controlled state media and Russian propaganda. It is clear that without a large number of Internet users this could not have happend.
Social media which have rised as a result of convergence of media and Internet technologies showing a significant increase of audience. Website Social network Facebook has 1.7 billion accounts, LinkedIn - 200 million, microblogging service Twitter - over 500 million account yet, Vkontakte - the largest in post-Soviet social networking site - 197 million*(according to its websites and stats).
Almost three years ago, Ukraine experienced events that ultimately redirected our state towards European integration, events that were called Revolution of Dignity or Euromaidan.
According to the BBC, the first time the word «euromaidan» was used Nov. 21 in the social networks. Immediately hashtag #euromaidan got into Twitter trends. By November 22 it was used over 21 000 times when the shares are held in Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, Uzhgorod and Lviv. According to the media people massively responded to journalist Mustafa Nayem post in Facebook and Tweeter to join him at the Independence Square. Statements were posted on the personal page of Nayem November 21, 2013 at 19:55. Protesters responded quickly to organize themselves for Euromaidan.
Around 3 PM it was reported that the Ukrainian government has decided to «suspend negotiations with the EU», so within 15-20 minutes a top-ended media instantly spreaded thisd news through its social networks. Somewhere closer to 16.00 there was a giant leap in attending to news media. 21 and 22 November had the highest attendance Ukrainian online media in the history of any observations before. For example, the site of Ukrayinska Pravda attendance has almost doubled these couple days (according liveinternet) .
Nearer to 19.00, it became clear that the number of people who are truly outraged decision of the authorities - is too much. People were waiting for a sign of opposition leaders, but it came from activists, journalists and concerned citizens.
That is why the role of social networks in such critical social situations is so important. It was no Klitschko/Yatseniuk/Tyahnybok/Lutsenko affect whether people came to protest.
There were those who had a large audience of fans and truly believers. So when Mustafa Nayem, Roman Shrike, Andriy Shevchenko, Lesia Orobets and hundreds of others have written their posts in social networks to go to the Maidan - thousands went.
Yandex Company, using open accounts for indexing network Twitter, explored how the activity of Ukrainian Twitter-users changed during the 2013-2014 years. According to it research in 2014 Ukrainian users doubled number of their accouts in Twitter twice - in January and July, the first increase was associated with the Revolution of Dignity, the second - with Malaysia Airlines plane crash in the Donetsk region. In July 2014 Ukrainians registered in Twitter about 100 thousands of new accounts.
US researchers Rospigliosi A., Greener S. noted: «In Ukraine, social media were crucial tool for internal organization and mobilization of protesters» .
G. Veretennyk believes that «the revolution in terms of blogs and social networks helped to spread information and coordinate everything (announcing the time and place of meetings and pickets, and gave room for negotiations), promoted patriotism and universal values for Ukrainians etc .
While during the Orange Revolution of 2004 an important role in the coordination and organization of protesters played mobile phones, the raise of people to protest actions in 2013 was held through the social networks.
That obviously explains the activity and aggressiveness of Russian electronic media around the world and in Ukraine's media market as well. According to the National Institute for Strategic Studies analysis information components of «hybrid war» were enabled in Ukraine a long time before the Russia military aggression in the East of our country. Aggressive information-psychological impact suffered not only Ukrainian society, but the citizens of the former Soviet Union, as well as the US population and the EU citizens. Information front continues to play a key role in achieving a number of goals that tries to reach the government of Russia nowadays:
- using a heavy socio-economic situation in Ukraine to split Ukrainian society to further rejection of the European integration process;
- justify the annexation of the territory of a sovereign state, ignoring international law;
- move the focus of its own citizens from internal problems towards the «external enemy» and to justify their criminal acts .
Television remains one of the most powerful channels of influence. The most powerfull and active among Russian foreign broadcasting, without a doubt, is TV channel Russia Today (RT), founded in 2005, which has a broadcast in more than 100 countries and has 700 million audience. Channels «RT US» and «RT UK» go on air with their own studios in Washington and London. Citizens of most countries can access RT via the Internet, satellite and cable channels. In addition, RT spreading its own product to YouTube. It should be emphasized that the format of RT channel made possible its active presence of the television market in Europe and the US. Moreover, in late 2014 was additionally launched an Internet portal «Sputnik», which uses the information flow of RT .
It should be stated that the activity of Russian propaganda the US media is significantly increased with increasing interest of American audiences to events in Ukraine. In addition to the international news agency RT, which is financed from the budget of Russia a few other media such as «First Channel» represent Russia abroad. The target audience of its propaganda - the ordinary European and American citizens, including representatives of the last waves of emigration from the USSR especially 24 in Germany, United States, Canada and Israel, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy and Spain, Baltic States and Belarus and of course - Ukraine . It should be noted that the quantity of postsoviet people in Germany alone is at least 3 million people. More than 100,000 live in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, even more - in Poland, not to mention Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. For the majority of immigrants from the Soviet Union, the Russian language is, if not the main, the dominant language or even mother tongue than is successfully used by propaganda media of Russia.
Russian information agencies successfully exploited the idea of freedom of expression and information for the implementation of disinformation in American and European media space. According to T. Snyder, a famous American historian, professor at Yale University, «Russian propaganda aim is to show that the truth, in fact, does not exist» .
Here is a another clear example of the impact of electronic media on events in Ukraine in 2014.
Before a crash of Malaysian Boeing in July 17, 2014 Ukrainians never thought, despite the Russian aggression, did not know and did not understand the magnitude of the network force and therefore the impact of social media in todays world. It is clear that disaster of Malaysian Boeing, which was shot down by Russian terrorists over the territory they control in eastern Ukraine, immediately caused a huge surge of information .
Results of the popular news aggregator NewsWhip monitoring shows that among the eight highest-rated European news, six created by Russian propaganda mouthpiece Russia Today.
These news implemented the policy of the Kremlin, where Ukraine accused of all possible sins: the Ukrainian weapon Buk and Ukraine were blamed for the crash, and that Putin was supposed to be targeted by rockets…
How it works - Russia Today produces content, throws it into the network and all the other just share these links, taking them to the highest-rated messages. What are the consequences of this popular Russian messages on social networks?
The world of journalism has lost significant position after the economic crisis of 2008. Since the traditional media and even respected editors have to save on everything on what is possible. Some reduced photographers, some had to cut journalists.
Western media, looking for the popularity of topics in the mentioned services aggregators, understand its popularity for people often just repost it. And as editors often do not have enough journalists to enlighten all the news around the world, they often use the services of so-called media-workers, which are often low-paying students or practicants). Clearly, in such situations, the topics are selected and written not by a journalistic standards.
Certainly there are lots of media holdings and sites with authority and finanses. But in light of the rapid development of the Internet and the emergence of new online media, the specific number of poor-quality information pages a choking mass of well-known publications. So it is easy to loose yourself in this massive information highway and understand what is really happening.
Thus, more people get distorted information and on the basis of such distortions audience create its distorted opinion. This view affects the local politicians who have to please the audience. From local politicians it goes to higher levels.
The technological revolution that began with the advent of personal computers and mobile devices with access to network spawned a number of new services, like social networking, virtual space of communication and socialization. The phenomenon of new social media that work on technologies and principles of Web 2.0, that helps consumers make content via their posts and can collaborate, cooperate, communicate, share information, identified new opportunities to exchange information and established principles of virtual communication, which now forms part of our living space. Besides these technological capabilities of virtualization policy, when citizens, voters may consume fewer information sources and evaluate politicians without a direct contact but through the prism of audiovisual and electronic media. However, comparison of illusion and fantasy world, along with the operation of real laws of life make Internet communication very attractive to young people, especially in unfavorable environments, as they require no defined social status and roles, and even more to fight for a place in the social hierarchy. Thus forming reference groups carried out freely, chaotic and uncontrolled. All these factors contributed to the emergence of the phenomenon of cybersocialization that according to Ukrainian researcher Helen Kudashkina is a new kind of socialization and selfidentefication.
So as we have noted earlier, during the revolutionary events in Ukraine domestic and foreign media social networks have become a source of information, especially Facebook and Twitter that contented the messages of world leaders and heads of international organizations (Barack Obama, Stefan Fule, Catherine Ashton, etc.), messages of Ukrainian politicians, messages of the opinion-leaders and journalists.
Popular online site Ukrayinska Pravda offered readers a collection of media messages and messages from social networks, this method of presentation was very effective, because through these lists the events of the Revolution of Dignity broadcasted almost in real time, creating the most complete information picture about the events in the state.
Internet social networking services enable witnesses to cover their events along with professional journalists and thus considerably supplement the general information. Today, users of social networks are in - 27 volved in the collection, processing, publication and dissemination of socially significant information, that is why many media experts believe that the development of so-called citizen journalism that promotes democratization in the field of media should exist. The advantage of citizen journalism social media is the speed of presentation and to maintain constant feedback from the audience, everyone can comment, read, express their opinion, receive a response recipient, amend or deny the information.
social media political
1. Internet users in the world. - mode of access: http://www. internetlivestats.com/internet-users/
2. Найдорожчі бренди світу. [Електронний ресурс]. - Режим доступу: http://www.dw.de/ найдорожчі-бренди-світу /g-17663724
3. «Нові ідентичності» в Україні та світі: підстави формування, концепції, прогнози». - Режим доступу: http://www.niss.gov.ua/ articles/534/
4. #євромайдан: українська цифрова революція та останній шанс аналоговим політикам стати цифровими. - Режим доступу: http://watcher.com.ua/2013/11/29/yevromaydan-ukrayinska-tsyfrova - revolyutsiya-ta-ostanniy-shans-analohovym-politykam-staty - tsyfrovymy/
5. Rospigliosi A., Greener S. Proceeding of the European Conference on Social Media / A. Rospigliosi, S. Greener. - Brighton.: University of Brighton, 2014. - 787 p.
6. Веретенник Г. Розвиток блогів та соціальних мереж в умовах революції в Україні [Електронний ресурс] / Г. Веретенник. - Режим доступу: kgimv.nau.edu.ua/images/Konferentsiya.pdf
7. Російське іномовлення як інструмент маніпулювання громадською думкою у трансатлантичному просторі. - Режим доступу: http://www.niss.gov.ua/articles/1834/
8. Євросоюз боротиметься з російською дезінформацією. - Режим доступу: http://www.dw.com/uk/євросоюз-боротиметься-з - російською-дезінформацією/a-18329318
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