“Sorry, teyze”

BİRGUL

 

Yes, me as well, I am going to talk about Gezi Park Protests and Berkin Elvan. But from a different point of view.

I first heard of the Gezi Parkı protests on twitter and then saw it on the mobile website of a newspaper. And it was the social media that helped us, those who were not at the park yet, keep track of what was going on over there while things escalated quickly. People were sharing things on every social media platform imaginable: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, etc… You name it. Yet, I was still skeptical: I thought people would leave once they’d have to go to school/work. But they did not leave, they kept coming back and the number of protesters had augmented tremendously. Even though it was tough in the streets I was starting to feel hopeful again. That is until the government officials turned the tables on us by using the very same means of communications and giving false information to us. I am talking about trying to get people to dead ends with police barricades waiting for them by conveying on Twitter, Facebook etc. that it was safe to go there to hide. So I kept digging and realized that “our” truth was not “the” truth.

For every individual who saw that there was corruption, there were hundreds with misinformation or no information at all.

Facebook is a network sorting tool and your virtual friends tend to be -more or less- people you agree with on major issues. So, when you see your homepage full of Gezi Park posts, you think everybody knows about it, agrees with it and it is the reality of the majority. But one of the “perks” of internet is that it gives you the information you want to see. I tried to examine a lot of post from people with different views and it was as if they did not know what we knew. And maybe they didn’t. Media literacy does not rank high in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, unfortunately.

You can’t tweet to those who don’t even have food on the table or any shoes to wear. In that sense, I disagree that social media can lead to a true revelation of all people. Your tweets and shared statuses can only reach so far, and by so far I mean the top 5-10% of the population. Obviously I am no expert but explaining a kid who lives in a city that suffers from terrorism that you are fighting for your freedom of speech, sounds trivial and frankly, elitist to me. But, I digress.

Overall, what I am trying to say is that social media can be great tool to spread the news but it is only effective to some extent. If one wants real change, they should go out there (by there I mean remote places that wifi just won’t reach) and spread the word themselves. That’s why the revolution won’t be tweeted.

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