THE AMBIGUOUS POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA: HEGEMONY OR RESISTANCE?
Aborisade Philip Olubunmi, Ph.D., Senior lecturer/head of media and
communication program at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.
Recent developments have demonstrated the efficacy and effectiveness of social media as a veritable tool for mobilization and networking. Ordinary citizens rely on the power of social media to mobilize against sit-tight leaders. Oppressed citizens use social media to protest against bad government and anti-people’s policies. Based on the findings of a current research, this article discusses recent protests across the world and how citizens use social media during the protests to stay connected, plot strategies and circulate news to the rest of the world. The article concluded that; with citizen-reporters and social media, there is no hiding place or safe haven for sit-tight leaders and anti-people policies as citizens are better empowered than ever by emerging technologies to challenge the status quo. This paper therefore hypothesizes that the ambiguous power of social media has become a tool for resistance movements and hegemony as demonstrated at the protest sites around the world such as the 2014 Burkinabé Uprising, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, the chilean students’ protest, the Los Indignados movement, the Québec student’s strike and Idle no more in Canada etc,
KEY WORDS: Social Media, New Technology, New media, Citizen Reporters, Democracy, Networking, Hegemony Resistance