The book, Network of Outrage and Hope, by Manuel Castells’, explains the importance of online networks in the diffusion of images and videos of different social movements that occurred around the world. Castells’ further argued how social movements started and spread rapidly through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. These online networks also contributed in bringing outrage and hope among people and to stand up against the injustice done by particular country rulers. Not to mention the police that the tyrants use to oppress their people. The countries include Tunisia, Iceland, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Spain and Washington USA. All these social movements that occurred have one thing in common that it occurred because of injustice, unemployment, inflation, financial crises and the apathy of the rulers towards their people. Media not only played an important role by bringing people together against tyranny but in also gaining support from other countries. Additionally, apart from the importance of the internet in social movements, Castell also mentioned the importance of occupying of urban spaces in bringing revolution. Occupying urban spaces helps people to come together and to overcome the fear against the power and to demand social change.
From the beginning, Castell used the element of emotion in explaining the different social movements throughout the book. As Castell in his book said:
By sharing sorrow and hope in the free public space of the internet, by connecting to each other, and by envisioning projects from multiple sources of being, individuals formed networks, regardless of their personal views or organizational attachments. They came together. And their togetherness helps them to overcome the fear, this paralyzing emotion on which the powers that be rely in order to prosper and reproduce, by intimidation or discouragement and when necessary by sheer violence.
Castell further showed the way communication is essential determining the way power is exercised. Communication through social networks can bring outrage as well as hope among people, as in his book he said, “Communication is the process of sharing meaning through the exchange of information.” Castells’ also used facts and surveys of different social movements to support his claim on the importance of online networks in his book. Posting of blogs on various websites by the protestors supported his importance of communication for example in one of the blogs he mentioned says, ”The people want to bring down the regime!… The most beautiful thing about [the protests] is those who worked on were not politicians at all. It was all of us, all Egyptians.”
This book, Outrage and Hope, explored how different social movements occurred by explaining the questions of how it occurred? Who were the protestors? And what did they want? These questions develop a person interest in further exploring the book. The way technology is developing and playing an important role in bringing revolution was the thing that never occurred before it came into existence. Every social movement started because of an incident that went viral and triggered the anger among people. And also every social movement took its courage from the previous one, for example, Tunisia and Iceland. As he said, “Indeed, only a few hours after he set himself on fire, hundreds of youth, sharing similar experiences of humiliation by the authorities, staged a protest in front of the same building.”
New media culture has enabled the society to transform itself in a positive way. Castell has shown us how people are using this new media in communicating their feelings. Before the new media, it was not possible. Not only people can gain support in their social movement but it also is used to share cultural values and traditions of a country. New media is getting stronger with the passage of time and it can build or destroy a country image. It has also proved to bring radical changes in the society. As Castell explained that
The connection between free communication on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter and the occupation of urban space created the hybrid public space of freedom that become a major feature of the Tunisian rebellion, foreshadowing the movements to come in other countries.
One of the references Castell mentioned in his book is of Mona El-Ghobashy. El-Ghobashy was born in Cairo and is an assistant professor of political science. Her works focus on the social movements that occurred in the Middle East and North Africa. El-Ghobashy in her book, The Praxis of the Egyptian Revolution, also explained the major role technology has played in defeating Egypt president Husni Mubarik. El-Ghobashy explained three main reasons of Egyptian revolution technology, Tunisia, and tribulation. Technology led the young people to destroy autocrat rule with the help of Facebook and Twitter. Tunisian example of revolution inspired the people to rise against Mubarik. A tribulation which is the inflation in the prices of food raise the uprisings. To overcome the protests that were occurring in the urban spaces the ruler used the police force to oppress these uprisings. The police brutally killing Khalid Said video was uploaded on Youtube and facebook. El-Ghobashy explained in detail every situation that happened during the Egyptian revolution. (El-Ghobashy, The Praxis of the Egyptian Revolution)
The second reference Castell mentioned is an American blogger and columnist of the Washington post, Bloomberg News, and MSNBC, named Ezra Klein. (Wikipedia). Klein in his blog on the Washington post, Who are the 99 percent, discussed the “Occupy Wall Street” issue. Klein proposed that Tumblr played a major role in bringing the revolution with posting pictures of people telling their story. These protestors are either students who are in debt or unemployed and protestors facing financial crises. These protestors want to change and to be heard. As one of the pictures said, “I am 20K in debt and am paying out of pocket for my current tuition while I start paying back loans with two part-time jobs.” Another picture said that:
I am a 27-year-old with a bachelor degree. I ran out of my student loans while trying to find a job. I am ‘living’ with my mother again to get back on my feet. So far, the best I can do is a part time retail job paying $8 an hour. I am hearing impaired with the cochlear implant. My cochlear implant warranty expired. I do not have the money to renew it. How can I work at my new minimum wage job when my implant is broken? I need it to HEAR. (Klein)
The idea that attracts me is the way Castell has linked social movements with the online networks and make it easy for the readers to understand. The concept of power and how it is being misused by the rules explained why the people stood up against the rulers and social movement started. Castell somehow also tried to give the message in his book that when the patience level has reached its limit the revolution is going to happen. The anger that is triggered by some event brings outrage and togetherness helps to overcome any fear. This book has also inclined me to read more of his books, both new and previous because studying different revolutions and wars that have occurred interests me.