The United Souls of New Media

As new media presents an ever-evolving set of skills, technology, information, and processes, its construction changes so quickly that it is almost impossible to determine the nature of these information and processes, but does however, create new wide networks that didn’t exist under the old media. These networks are nothing but today’s mediated societies. They are dense, comprehensible, manipulative, and interactive. In fact, through these networks, new media platforms have removed communication barriers, created decentralized communication channels, and cleared the path for a democratic and inclusive fashion that includes people even in repressive countries.

This interconnected lifestyle isn’t completely new to us. We just happen to have developed new tools and more sophisticated techniques to make this interaction more fluid, more intelligible, and less time-consuming. We have slowly moved from the mere need to interact and inform, to the need to investigate, question, organize, and react. In many countries around the world, communities used new media to conquer new spaces – spaces they would perhaps never have entered if it wasn’t for the power of new media – and establish a new rule for the governing powers that would change the narratives and introduce new concepts of mobilization, resistance, and Revolution (as in the case of the famous Tunisian Revolution of 2011).

In the Middle East and North Africa – and I cannot but think of my country Tunisia –  the regional networks that have sparked throughout the “Arab Spring”, demonstrate how new media facilitates and fosters social movements, youth mobilization, and the creation of an inclusive public sphere that has completely changed the way people organize, protest, express themselves, and react to global phenomena.

These new media networks are not created by a single variable, but rather by a set of variables that fuels an interaction effect among different groups, communities, and nations. They accommodate a wide variety of spontaneous, formal and informal interactions that foster creativity and collaboration among like-minded people, spread information faster than traditional news outlets, minimize real-life differences, and bridge communal divides. Locally, when used the right way, new media platforms play a significant role in the spread of information, activism and advocacy, as well as social cohesion. They build a sense of inter-connectedness and interdependence that do not believe in space, and perhaps even time.

A. O.

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