Monday, November 2, 2009

Internet and Transnationalization

New communication technologies have and will continue to play a major role in the global society. In this week's readings, the internet and cellular phone technology contributed and ignited many social movements. Today, people can voice their opinions/discrepanices and mobilize a protest all by sitting at a computer desk or sending emails via a cell phone. A prolific example that was discussed is the ousting of Filipino President Estrada. The citizens and his administration became so upset and frustrated with his alleged corrupting behavior that he was forced to leave his office due to a protest that was orchestrated via mass text messages. Another example was the Nike "sweatshop" emails. Peretti sent an email to Nike requesting that a pair of personalized shoes be embroidered with the Nike-associated term "sweatshop." Nike officials denied the request, but Peretti forwarded the email threads. The communication threads spread vastly. Nike did not go out of business, but this example was classic because it exhibiting culture jamming. The significance of the internet technology allowed him to save his communication and send it to millions of people. In the end, Nike received negative feedback and press, and many associated the company with the unfortunate term. One last example that I want to emphasize is the North American Fair Trade Coffee Network. When I first glanced at the term, I thought it was that is beside the point. The network actually consisted of two other organizations that worked together to expose Starbucks environmentally harmful practices. All of the involved groups had individual intentions, but they all worked together for a common cause; everyone benefited. (Hanson said it best, "loose alliances of diverse groups with different agendas.") Starbucks "lifestyle" was being threatened by the coffee networks accusations that the coffee chain kills songbirds. Instead of using PR to battle the coffee network, Starbucks gave in and included the network's logo on many of its products. They also display many humanitarian posters at its locations.

The previous examples show the power that is associated with micro media, and its connection to mass media. When protests and the such become very successful via micro media collaboration, the mass media many times cover the story and the uniqueness of the events. Once this occurs, the world is exposed and becomes aware of situations occuring in Timbuktu, per se. Technology such as the internet allows for all interested parties to partake and remain informed about almost anything. The Nike incident may not have became known worldwide without the internet; it definitely would not have been common knowledge as quick. Hanson states that the internet provides the world with a bridge that connect everyone locally and globally. Coalitions can be built across great distances, and due to the internet transnational organizations have been successfully created (2008). The internet also provides a "global image" that is otherwise not available (Bennet, 2003).

This week's reading was very interesting yet informing. Who would've known that SMS was being used to ignite political movements and protests. I absolutely loved the text shorthand of the Filipino girl's friend, while she was on a date "I think ud betr go hme now!" Transnationalism...mmm think this word is more inviting that globalization..just a thought!

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