Jill Hopke

Environmental Communication. Social Movements. Mobile Media.

Tag: Defend Wisconsin

Social Media and “Consent of the Networked”: The Troubling Implications of “Internet Freedom” within the Private Domain

As I near the finish line in what has been a marathon to prepare for my prelim exams, I picked up two “final” pieces of literature. One is the latest April 2012 edition of Journal of Communication, a special issue on Arab Spring and activists using social media in other locales to organize for political change. The other is Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, by Rebecca MacKinnon, published by Basic Books earlier this year.

I study alternative and “participatory” media, which has been traditionally defined as platforms such as community radio, zines, radical newsprint and more recently Internet projects like IndyMedia. However, one thing I’ve been pondering of late is the implications of new media technologies, most notably social media platforms. Can they too be considered means of “alternative media”? If so, under what conditions? Clearly there are differences between activists developing their “own” tools and infrastructure vs. using corporate owned and controlled platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Flicker, etc.). But as the examples of Arab Spring, #Occupy, and #wiunion among others illustrate, activists are using all available tools to coordination protest actions and mobilize support, often parallel to more traditional “alternative” media projects (e.g., the Occupied Wall Street Journal or the Spanish 15M movement’s N1 social network). The questions are under what conditions are activists making these choices, how are they using both “old” and “new” media tools to organize and what are the implications?

Social Media, Networks and Political Protest
The April 2012 issue of Journal of Communication, features articles centered answering questions of how activists are using new media to demand political change, from the relation between Chinese blogs and print media, resisting “networked authoritarianism” in Azerbaijan to, of course, the role of social media in the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 and more.

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One Year of #wiunion: Remembering. As We Move Wisconsin Forward.

It has been quite a year in Wisconsin and I am proud to have lived in these times. It has not been a moment to stand on the sidelines of history.

We have lost much but I believe over the course of the coming years will gain much more in terms of social progress. Here is an excerpt of a blog post I authored for Defend Wisconsin:

A year ago the system of social trust in Wisconsin began to come unraveled. Today marks the one-year anniversary of Gov. Walker’s announcement of the Budget Repair Bill, now Wisconsin Act 10, effectively ending 50 years of public sector collective bargaining rights.

I believed a year ago that we would “kill the bill.” I believed if we made our voices heard, we could appeal reason on the part of lawmakers. If we spoke about the hardships this bill would cause around the state for families, for students, for ordinary Wisconsinites that go to work everyday with faith in the system, our government would listen to us. Continue reading

Why students should support recall effort and other news

I recently wrote an letter to the editor of the Badger Herald, one of UW-Madison’s student newspapers, about why students should support the statewide drive to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

In his short tenure as governor, Walker has attacked more than just the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers. He has cut more than $315 million in funding to higher education, directly affecting learning on this campus. He has cut K-12 education to the tune of more than $2 billion, hurting Wisconsin’s youth before they even have a shot at getting here. He has cut assistance to the neediest in our state, by slashing BadgerCare. And the list goes on.

You can read more and learn how you can get involved in the recall effort between now and January on Defend Wisconsin.

In related news, Wisconsin led the nation in job losses for October. That’s not just proportionally but in raw numbers, leaving our state a long way off from the 250,000 jobs Walker campaigned on creating in the private sector.

So it’s a good thing for Wisconsin that United Wisconsin, the umbrella group collecting recall petitions, announced today that Wisconsinites (myself included) have collected more than 300,000 signatures in only 12 days. Let’s keep it up!

Thanks for visiting!

Thanks for visiting my website! One of my summer goals was to create a website for myself, so here it is. Please check back shortly for more about me. In the meantime, check out Defend Wisconsin, a project of the UW-Madison Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA). I am part of the TAA’s media team.

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