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Posted on April 27th, 2014, by

It is known that social networking and Internet play a significant role in the development of transnational social movements. Most of social movement organizations are regarded as the major building blocks of social movements which has already become transnational in their structure. Jonny Jones states in his article that the past few years “have seen an explosion of debate, blogging and theorizing around the role of the Internet in today’s social movements”ť (2011). Social networking and the well-known Internet applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are effectively used to facilitate the creation content and exchange of the user-created content.

In order to discuss the issue concerning the key role of social networking and the Internet in the development of new transnational social movements, it is necessary to refer to the term transnational social movement. According to Kenneth A. Gould and Tammy L. Lewis, transnational social movement is a movement which has members in at least two or three different nations who are cooperatively engaged in efforts “to promote or resist change beyond the bounds of their nation”ť (2010). Another expert Sidney Tarrow states that the members of transnational social movements are “socially mobilized groups with constituents in at least two states, engaged in sustained contentious interactions with power-holders in at least one state other than their own, or against an international institution, or a multinational economic actor”ť (Gould & Lewis, 2010). It means that the existence of transnational social movements is simply impossible without the use of social networking and the Internet. It is clear that communication networks of the activists that effectively use information in their campaigns for change help to improve the work of transnational social movements. In other words, social networking and the Internet are central to new transnational social movements.  There are many social movements which are greatly influenced by social networking and the Internet. One of them is Wikileaks. This social movement, which is often called the “free culture movement”ť, has a rather long history. Wikileaks incorporates those elements that are similar to the first workers’ movements, such as the elements of political agitation, class struggle, as well as radical economics. The members of this movement are mostly technology workers who are in conflict with the representatives of the ruling class over the information of political and economic nature. According to Wikileaks, there will be certain implications for all people. It is possible to say that this social movement exists as a consequence of the political economy of Internet. It is known that today personal computers have revolutionized the economic nature of information. In the 1950s-60s and earlier on, a piece of information was closely connected with such physical objects, as a piece of paper, an Long Playing record, or a roll of film. However, the personal computer gave an opportunity to distribute information by the Internet globally. According to Charlie Beckett and James Ball, networked protest demonstrated by Wikileaks may be very effective in certain conditions and in the short term (2012:141).  The authors of the book state that Wikileaks can be regarded as “an alternative power within a network of information in which corporate and governmental interests are increasingly becoming aligned”ť(Beckett & Ball, 2012:145).  It is known that in many cases, governments criticize this social movement for its damage to the integrity of their systems. Wikileaks effectively uses social networking and the Internet to achieve success in its work. As today Wikileaks works in close cooperation with such powerful news organizations as The Guardian, El Pais, Der Spiegel, the Internet is of great importance (Sifri, 2011:171).

The other well-known social movement that effectively uses social networking and the Internet is the World Social Forum. This transnational social movement is designed to bring together the world civic organizations that have positive relation to anti-globalization. It means that they are opposed neoliberalism in our society and domination of the world by capital. They address the major problems of civil society regarding globalization.  Social networking and the Internet play a significant role in the development of this social movement organization. Today the World Social Forum is effectively networking in the mass protests (Leite & Gil, 2005:78). As a rule, the protests of this social movement produce a massive media event. It is found that most of the texts about the activities of the World Social Forum are available on the Internet sites, and on the Forum’s official site.

To sum up, social networking and the Internet are central to new transnational social movements because these tools help to provide useful information for the members of social movement organizations in all parts of the world and to attract new participants from all over the world.

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