Social media and social change
The traditional web is a top-down framework that separates the ‘means of production’ from consumers. In other words, there were only web controllers and web users. The concept of ‘produsage’ as developed by Axel Bruns refers to the “breakdown” or convergence of producers and consumers. While this has not yet fully inverted the traditional framework, it has narrowed the power difference between those who own websites and those who want to contribute to the collective intelligence that is formed when a mass of users post and publish.
User-created content has led to the proliferation of synchronous media, blogs and other forms of creative micro-publishing like the mobile novels (keitaj shosetu) of Japan where traditionally disempowered women are able to share their experiences via Twitter-type serial publications. Popular uprisings under Middle-East dictatorships are other examples of the power of social media to bring about fundamental social change.
Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and the growing use of mobile phones can also be used to by-pass censorship, an example being Cuba where the US sanctions have been circumvented by the use of smart phones to enable communication with the outside world.