“Similarly, the optimistic notion that the Internet would inform and empower
individuals worldwide, while subverting existing power structures, may underestimate the power of states to control information access” (Wilson and Peterson 2002:451-452).
In 2002 when Wilson and Peterson wrote “The Anthropology of Online Communities,” the were skeptical about the potential for the Internet to become a tool of social justice. The fear was that the Internet would not be an accessible and useable tool for activists. This prediction is unfounded. Here are two examples of successful activist work via the internet:
1. Online Feminism
Feminist theory and ideology has found a hold on the internet. There is even a Buzzfeed article about being an Internet Feminist. Sites like Feministing.com, Jezebel, and Hollaback have all garnered national attention.
Below is a TED Talk by Feminist Editor Courtney Martin:
2. Arab Spring
The use of social network sites like Facebook and Twitter was incredibly important during uprisings in the Middle East. Below is a presentation entitled, “Social Media’s Role in Arab Spring” by Riyaad Minty, the Al Jazeera head of social media.
I can easily think of other examples of activist work online. Recently, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has relied heavily on social media efforts to both protest and organize. I am sure more movement are out there now and even more will be created in the future, all of which will use the internet to achieve their goals.