Responses should be a minimum of 150 words and include direct questions, evidence from the literature, alternative points of view or additional insight.
With the methods of communication advancing every day, it’s easier to spread the word of a cause to different parts of the world. Social media is a bolstering platform for many different organizations. It has influenced political campaigns as well as help spread propaganda. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow users to share their ideas and opinions quickly using the internet. In a 2014 poll, about 70% of people on social media engage with Facebook every day (Duggan, Ellison, Lampfe, Lenhart, & Madden, 2015). How does this impact a network or non-state actor?
A network is defined as “individuals or groups one interacts with regularly” (Arquilla, 2007). Transnational networks know no defined borders, are not states, and are not actors on a global scale compared to IGOs, NGOs, or MNCs. However, networks are used to link people from different regions for a common issue. Civil networks raise awareness for causes like human rights, injustice, environmental concerns, etc. Uncivil networks, rather than raise awareness to help others, seek out for self-gain through power, violence, and in some cases, terrorism.
One example of a civil network impacted through social media is the 2014 kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls. On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 girls from a Chibok secondary school. The Nigerian government has been accused by the locals of not handling the matter in an effective manner. Activists took to Twitter with the trending topic #BringBackOurGirls (Litoff, 2014). The event quickly raised awareness to people around the worlds, with everyone from celebrities to the First Lady of The United States posting pictures with signs echoing the #BringBackOurGirls. The use of twitter helped rally more organizations to send aid in combatting the Boko Haram as well as providing support in identifying any of the girls that were rescued. It’s been two years, and the group is still raising awareness until all the girls are brought home.
Social media has also aided uncivil networks in their causes, namely terrorism. Paul Wilkinson described it best by saying “Terrorism is not a philosophy or a movement: it is a method” (Wilkinson, 2007). The terrorist network ISIS also uses Twitter as a means of spreading their message. They use it as a primary means of recruitment and spreading fear (Bean, 2015). The threat of this organization is multiplied when you factor in that their information is readily available to anyone.
Modern communication is a faster means of spreading information for both civil and uncivil goals.
Arquilla, J. (2007). “Of Networks and Nations.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs XIV (1): 199–209.http://apus.libguides.com/er.php?course_id=6064
Bean, D. (11 August 2015). How ISIS Made Twitter One of Its Main Recruiting Tools – And What Can Be Done About It. Retrieved from http://ijr.com/2015/08/380544-how-isis-made-twitter-one-of-its-main-recruiting-tools-and-what-can-be-done-about-it/
Duggan, M., Ellison, N. B., Lampe, C., Lenhart, A., & Madden, M. (9 January 2015).Frequency of social media use. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/frequency-of-social-media-use-2/
Litoff, A. (6 May 2014) ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Becomes Rallying Cry for Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/International/bring-back-girls-rallying-cry-kidnapped-nigerian-schoolgirls/story?id=23611012
Wilkinson, P. (2007). International relations: A very short introduction. Oxford, GBR: Oxford University Press, UK. (pgs 72-75). http://apus.libguides.com/er.php?course_id=6064
The evolution of technology has had an unprecedented impact on the ability to both state and non-state actors. This evolution has increased the capability to communicate in that transfer of information is now near real time. This means that any message sent from one side of the world will be received in almost near real time on the other, and some kind of response will be yielded. With the evolution of technology, state and non-state actors took advantage of the impact this was having and used it to fulfill specific agendas. There are civil and uncivil actors which each have a vision and with the overwhelming advantage this communication upgrade brings, each used it to amplify its message.
Civil actors seek to improve the welfare of something that is inherently necessary to (Arquilla 2007) improve social, environmental, and civil rights. Take People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for example which seeks to improve the welfare and rights of animals. PETA’s mission is to protect the rights of animals that are suffering because of the food industry, clothing trade, laboratory experimentation, and entertainment. PETA has been pretty successful in delivering the message worldwide and networking has made their successes a reality. That being said, PETA did get hit up for allegations of euthanizing animals which was also broadcasted around the world almost pretty quickly.
Human Rights Activist (HMA) are another example we can use with networking. In several states around the world, groups of people are being oppressed and the only means by which they can deliver a message is by sending a message to people who may be able to support a cause. Whether it’s a legitimate cause or not is where the disadvantage lies. People around the world each have their own agenda and the message may not really be uncovering the truth of what the person and/or organizations intentions really are. So when the message goes out and because in this case, it’s a social improvement that’s desired, a timely and efficient way of getting support and an answer can be established. But lets say there is an uncivil group or organization that’s not human rights and has a very clearly defined goal which is not morally correct like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. That group’s agenda is to establish a caliphate and sharia law. It does that quiet well from what we can see on TV and with networking, the group could easily get support with the ability to network.
Arquilla, John. 2007. “Of Networks and Nations.” The Brown Journal of World Affairs XIV (1): 199–209.http://apus.libguides.com/er.php?course_id=6064
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