Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies


Why Twitter?

I know Twitter is a website with a limit of 120 characters but this can prove to be useful. 120 characters means that it is quick and to the point. There is not much of an effort to take a second to read what someone has written. Digital Activism is the newest form of getting information out to the public in a quick manner. Take into consideration, They mention how for Ferguson everyone knew what was going on (Bonilla, pg 2). The important thing here was the use of hashtags on a social media website. Hashtags are essential to keep a thread of posts who have a similar topic in mind. Hashtags are how people find out what is being said based on a certain keyword.
The true struggle is figuring out how to stay relevant because so many things are being thrown at you. The Chicana Feminism tag is filled with articles of women taking control of who they are and their representation in the arts.

Twitter allows there to be nonrestrictive thoughts to be posted in a public sphere where everyone can have access. While we have often trusted older media such as television, radio, and newspaper we have to realize that you can never be too trusting. Facts can often be misconstrued or misrepresented. For example, in the Fergueson case there was backlash for the use of a picture of Michael that would generate a negative impression of a boy who had been wrongfully killed. This led to the creation of the #Iftheygunnedmedown hashtag to start. This hashtag had people posting pictures that could be seen in a negative light juxtaposed to a photo of them graduating or smiling.
The downfall of this is there are people who will go through these hashtags and turn them into jokes, often provoking people for attention and tarnishing the message of a strong movement. If a movement is strong enough to get its point across than those who try to tear it down should not even be relevant.

Chicana Feminism has the power to expand but it has to take into consideration how social movements function in social media. Authors, Yarimar Bonilla and Jonathan Rosa offer a look at digital activism in their article #Ferguson. They comment on how easy it is for people to post up when something is going on because "56 percent of the U.S. population carries video-enabled smartphones" (Bonilla, pg 5). It is difficult sometimes when using hashtags because while they do mark a conversation within many, there can be people who do not use them who have equally as valuable information. Bonilla and Rosa bring this up in their analysis of the Ferguson shooting that happened. They realized "by looking only at tweets marked #Ferguson, one would miss out on a large number of posts that were 'about' Ferguson" even though they were not marked as such" (Bonilla, pg 7). However, the hashtag was able to bring it to the media's attention about what was going on. Sasha Costanza -Chock's book Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets! Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement covered a chapter on the DREAM activists. The DREAM activists were always active on the streets and calling to attention their issues with protests. While that earned them attention from the media and those who wish to help, it became apparent they could expand even more. Chock introduces the term transmedia organizing which means "creating cross-platform media, inviting the movement base to participate in media production, and linking attention directly to action" (Chock, 131). Active participation both online and offline allowed the movement to become more successful. Body counts are very important in showing the importance of the movement but in this age you must be connected to the web to contact those who may be interested. By accessing both these platforms they are able to increase accessibility and visibility in their movement.

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