I had long said, of hacktivism: “we need Justin Bieber-level retweets”. 2015 is the year we got them.
Edward Snowden’s Twitter debut was definitely a turning point. He soon showed where his true loyalties lay by amplifying grassroots activists to his large, global audience. Faces familiar to those of us struggling on the ground, but previously unknown to the mainstream, make appearances on his timeline.
With claims of websites being knocked offline just by Ed sharing a link to them, it is clear that a plug from him on social media has a major butterfly effect for the subjects he profiles.
‘Citizen Four‘ continues a great heritage of surveillance-by-a-tyrannical government-themed features and has achieved global exposure. Not since ‘Wag the Dog‘ has there been such saturation of a film so political in nature – both films depict farcical Western policy agendas and lead their audiences into some pretty deep introspection.
This year has seen an increasing number of very mainstream public figures speaking out about social issues – not just as spokespeople for NGO’s, but as individuals and seemingly of their own conscience.
So are celebrities waking up?
Regardless of their motives, the effect of pop culture lending access to its substantial audiences remains to be fully appreciated. The impact of the same legions of fans that spend their days pouring over Justin Bieber’s timeline, being exposed to hashtags like #SandraBland by Nicki Minaj, or #BlackLivesMatter by Jay-Z or Charleston by Solange Knowles, will evolve and be lasting.
For critical mass, all corners of all societies must be reached. Messages of social conscience penetrating the mainstream definitely accelerates that.
In utopia we’ll all live to see a day where TMZ only covers celebrities doing positive, role-model worthy things and the paparazzi and Hollywood culture self-reform. Where music television, entertainment and news media corps stop manufacturing reality and start addressing it.
A flow of raw information to people is what empowers them to act most effectively. Those who still live blindly by their television sets, quite literally need to be woken up.
It sure would be something to have the people on those very screens telling them that.