Participation is no longer a choice

Participation is vital in establishing and maintaining social organisation. Today, people engage with self-determining forms of participation, thanks to the breakdown in physical boundaries through globalisation, as well as technological advancements. These changes have now fostered distributed participation, as dispersed individuals are able to use temporal flows of media to interact with others.

In doing so, technological advancement has allowed individuals to cross space and time to allow social participation to reach wide communities. This allowance has fostered a rise as well as increased the effectiveness of social participation campaigns. For instance, the Kony 2012 campaign is an example of a social participation campaign that allowed self-determining participants to actively engage with the campaign despite their geographical location. The Kony 2012 campaign demonstrates a “native embrace of the virality of social media to get their message across,” as well as being indicative of social media harnessed as an effective tool in reach a wide and dispersed audience (Kosner 2012).

This trend of social organisation campaigns also attests to the rise of The New Groupthink (Cain 2012) – fostering team work,  collaboration as well as active self-determing participation. Susan Cain argues that organisational structure has evolved with “lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in” (Cain 2012). Therefore, making self-determining participation vital to ensuring organisational goals.

However, the Rise of the New Groupthink is also illustrative of the importance of group participation in maintaining new social order and social justice campaigns. Philospher Elinor Ostrom accounts that “a lot of communities have figured out subtle ways of making everyone contribute, because if they don’t, those people are noticeable” (Anon 2010). The Kony 2012 campaign “thrived on tugging at potential donors’ heartstrings” as millions of Facebook users shared the campaign video, urging their friends to share the video ‘to create more awareness and stop Kony’ (Suddath 2012).   Thus, new social order campaigns such as Kony 2012, make people accountable and have the ability to name and shame someone if they do not use self-determining participation and ‘share a video to stop Kony,’ guilting individuals into becoming  active in collaborative social organisation campaigns.

Therefore I question, whether new social order and collaborative campaigns really leave us with a choice whether to, or not engage in self-determining participation. Pondering the question, is participation still a self-determining choice?

List of References

Anon, 2010, ‘Elinor Ostrom’, in P2P Foundation, < > , accessed on 8 May 2013.

Cain, S., ‘The Rise of the New Groupthink’, in The New York Times, 13 Janauary 2012, < >, accessed on 8 May 2013.

Kosner, A.W., ’12 Lessons from Kony 2012 From Social Media Power Users’, in Forbes, 3 September 2012, < >,  accessed on 8 May 2013.

Suddath, C., ‘Five Reasons the Kony Video Went Viral’, in Business Week, 16 March 2012,  < >,

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