'We all still suffer from the life-draining, over-legislated madness called British Australia, which never seems to abate to the reason of sound voices or even democracy. Then they expect us to join in their triumphant dances over our ancestors' graves each January 26' (Phill Moncrieff, Aboriginal musician).
'Viral videos have indeed triggered a vigorous participatory culture' (Tasneem Dustagheer).
After a slight misunderstanding regarding the Mayan calendar, the world has not ended in 2012. Whether we anticipated the end of life as we know it or the dawn of a new year, 2013 is now upon us. As is customary at the start of a new year, we can take the opportunity to look back and reflect on the year that has passed. For many, 2012 meant viral images and movies, online activity and protest, parodies and political gaffes.
Everyone has friends and enemies online, but what do you do when people online are threatening to kill you? Well-known Icelandic women’s rights advocate Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir faced this problem last month when she came across the following message on Stefán Heiðar Erlingsson Facebook wall: 'If I "accidentally" ran over Hildur, she is probably the only person on earth that I would back up over, and leave the car on top of her with the hand brake on!!! Put this in your "men who hate Hildur" folder, Hildur Lilliendahl'.
Social media technologies made the US presidential election one of the most instantaneously shared and documented events in history with tweets, jokes and photos surging in real time through internet pathways around the world.
Women's bodies have long been a site for politics, but over the past few months political games and posturing have put issues like misogyny, sexism, rape and gender in the headlines. Whether it’s American Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock's comments about rape and pregnancy or Julia Gilliard’s address to Tony Abbott, from Australia to America politicians are buying into gendered debates.
'The solution to women’s issues can only be achieved in a free and democratic society in which human energy is liberated, the energy of both women and men together. Our civilization is called human civilization and is not attributed only to men or women.'
(Yemeni political activist and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Tawakkol Karman, 2011)
'There is a belief that is alarmingly wide-spread that you can say what you want on the internet without any consequences, and while I'm an advocate for freedom of expression, I know that's absolutely not the case' (Julie Posetti).
The case of murdered Melbourne woman Jill Meagher has received unprecedented media attention. Many people became aware of her story and were traumatised by its tragic end. In the wake of Jill's death some people turned to social media to express their grief and anger, but after being told their comments could affect the trial people faced the question of what they could and should say online.
'We've exposed the worlds secrets. Been attacked by the powerful. For 500 days now I've been detained without charge, but that hasn't stopped us' (Julian Assange in the opening to The Julian Assange Show).
The Assange story has fascinated people around the world - so much so that we now have documentaries, shows and books that tell his story. However, with much media coverage increasingly focusing on Mr Assange's presence at the Ecuadorean embassy in London (and accusations that he is an 'enemy of the state' in the US), it is possible that our attention has been diverted away from what he has sacrificed his personal safety and security for.
‘The Occupy movement is an extremely exciting development. In fact, it’s kind of spectacular. It’s unprecedented…Occupy is the first major public response to 30 years of class war’ (Noam Chomsky, ‘Occupy’)
The consequences of communication via social media continue to be met with ambiguity, from accusations that it is making us cruel, to fears that it will have unknown impacts on generations to come. People are unsure about whether social media is good or bad for us.