Remember a year ago when Facebook announced Timeline? How it was going to change the way that people shared information about themselves? Then it came out and everyone just hated it because if there is one thing that people on the internet hate most it’s change?
No one knows when the next Facebook redesign is going to come, but chances are you’re going to hate it. And if you’re on Twitter, you probably have opinions about the recent decision to excise third-party apps as well. There is always a sense of injustice when these autocratic changes are announced. The libertarians in the crowd will say “well if you don’t like the service, stop using the product” (conveniently ignoring, of course, that in these companies’ business models the user is the product).
Social media is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for social justice advocates, not through oft-maligned “slacktivism” campaigns such as changing one’s profile picture for a cause or through making a topic trend — but through its capability to help shape the national discourse surrounding issues, as two recent examples from two very different spheres of the web prove.