Social media generated ‘we are not alone’ environment

October 31, 2011

Social media has generated an environment of ‘we are not alone’, a prominent US civil rights activist has said.

“It ended the isolation of groups and citizens in different parts of the country, enabling people to know what each other are doing,” Reverend Jesse L Jackson said. “It helped empower citizens and promoted collaboration through access to information,” he told The Ninth Doha Conference of Inter-faith Dialogue.

Social media like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and smart phones have become the tools that combine with traditional social and political action to help shape new democratic movements, Jackson said.

However, the activist cautioned against exaggerating the role of social media.

“It is only a tool. It does not replace, supplant or bypass face-to-face, traditional organising,” he said, quoted by Qatar News Agency (QNA)

The activist highlighted how, for instance, it was misused to spread false information about Islam and how a preacher with extreme views highlighted his threat of burning the Holy Quran through the social media.

Aktarul Wasey, the head of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Zakir Husain Institute of Islamic Studies, said that “new media such as Facebook, Twitter and other such tools have radically changed the way people think, live and interact with each other.”

Sharing his views on the topic of ‘Social media: an effective tool to better inter-faith understanding’ Wasey said that social media is here to stay.

“The pace of networking via social media can be gauged from the fact that it took the radio 38 years to attract 50 million listeners and television took 13 years while the Internet had 50 million surfers in just four years since its inception,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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