Sunday, April 18, 2010

A look into/back at activist social media

Alternative media projects always have to fight off a strong inclination to anonymise and centralize, a tendency which really cuts against how web 2.0 social media actually works to build active communities.

It’s encouraging to see the change in the social media strategy in climatecamp. The first instinct was to centralise and anonymise – to have a unified, “single voice” of “climate camp”. Within climate camp this has now shifted organically to a position of accepting a diversity of voices, each with their own character - the “voices of climate camp”. I am constantly fighting against this initial centralising tendency, though it is really hard to beat as it is always unspoken, and to speak it out loud is somehow to be seen as bringing it into being. Obviously this isn’t true, but it is a hard dynamic to shift.

Good to see the dynamic shifting in climatecamp, towards a more clearly labeled diversity of projects.

This is happening too with Indymedia UK. It’s finally opening up to become what it was originally setup to be - a network of groups of alternative media rather than the opaque monolithic structure that it had become. The links to alternative media groups on the side bar and the Schnews articles in the central column make me hopeful of alt-media growing into a genuine network of linked/syndicated projects, where each supports the other to become a much greater force than just the sum of its parts. The first thing to do is to declare what the parts are, and then have each link to the others.

So it’s good to see this shift in IMC too. Possibility of happy days for independent media!