David Faris, We Are All Revolutionaries Now: Social Media Networks and the Egyptian Revolution
Faris focuses on the many aspects of cost attributed to activism, and how social media networks affect those costs. The monetary cost of organizing and participating in an activist movement is dramatically decreased by social media networks, where an organizer no longer needs to print and distribute their information or schedule physical meetings. With the low participation cost that social media provides to activists, there is less of a boundary to keep people from joining a movement. The argument against the decreased monetary cost is that their will be less of a commitment amongst activists if they have less invested in their work, but the gains of social media is worth the possible cost in loyalty.
Additionally, Faris’ term “many-to-many communication” describes the characteristic of social Media Networks where leaders or organizers can briskly communicate with their partakers and evade government officials. “many to many communication” also incorporates the concept that members of each other’s social networks can communicate with each other and follow on another’s activity (in relation to their shared movement or in general); this helps build digital trust, which is crucial in governments where potential costs to activism stray beyond money and into prison sentences, death threats, and more. Trust and transparency amongst a group of activists motivates those who would be afraid to protest in to taking action because the oppressive institutions have a tougher time penetrating and dismantling activist groups when each person is somewhat aware of what significant things happen to every other individual of their movement.
Social media makes activism cheaper, more efficient, and more dynamic than previous activism that relied on more physical, indirect, expensive, vulnerable forms of protest and activism.