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April 19, 2011 / graceunsw

Politics of/and Media

The dynamic interplay between governments, their constituents and the media has had important implications in both powerful and disruptive ways. A recent example of this is how the recent political uprising in Egypt mobilised the affordances of new media and the conventions of traditional media in order to create a new kind of media event (perhaps heralding the future of how such issues will play out).

This coupling of old and new media tends to be discussed in absolute terms in much of the public discourse surrounding current issues. I would like to question this, however, as I wonder if it has to be one or the other? If so, how can they coexist and what are the implications of this for the future?

Social media is often dismissed as a trend or fleeting tool that does not really wield any power and cannot effect change. I think we are beginning to see that this is a somewhat naive view, in that increasingly social media has become not only a means of organisation, but rather THE means of organisation people live by.

Social media is what instigates the people. I think the challenge is translating the situation from the virtual world to the real world and not the virtual world.

Nikki Usher states that “the media ecology now involves a complex interplay between social media, streaming internet, and mainstream media, which are all working together to create a much larger, more nuanced picture of the live broadcasting of history.”

She furthers that, overall, this may constitute a “shift from simple documentation to interactivity”, providing both threats and opportunities for the mediasphere in a hyper-globalised world with constant media cycle.



Bergstrom, G n.d., Egypt: The First Twitter Revolution?,, accessed 30 May 2011, <>

Usher, N 8 February 2011, How Egypt’s Uprising is Helping Redefine the Idea of a Media Event, Nieman Lab, accessed 20 May 2011, <>


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