Homestudy Notes – Lucy

Ethan Zuckerman: The System is Broken – and That’s the Good News

This video was about how democracy does not completely work – how the political system is broken.  Quinn Norton wrote an essay called “don’t vote”, as a protest to the US government – written about how she plans to refuse to vote until they make a change.  He also spoke of Zeynep Tufekci study on protests, where she did a field study on what happened in the Gezi Park project (“Sen de Gel”, from the Rumi poem, “Come, Come, Whoever You are”), where 3 and a half million people from Turkey in 90 different cities from May to August of 2013 gathered together and protested.  These diverse protesters all gathered as one big group – ultra-nationalists through to gay rights activists for brief amounts of time.  She stated that it is getting easier to build protests by the use of social media to draw people out to join movements, but less time and hard work is being put into talking out differences before gathering together, so the groups do not form as well as the more traditional, planned protests and are quite brittle in comparison.

Re:publica. (2015) re:publica 2015 – Ethan Zuckerman: The system is broken – and that’s the good news. YouTube . 05 May. Available from: [Accessed 19 January 2017].

Homestudy Notes – Abbey

Ethan Zuckerman: The System is Broken – and That’s the Good News

re:publica15 – media convention, Berlin.

Quinn North – “Don’t Vote” “I have decided that I am on strike as a voter, until voting means something”.

The whole system is rigged. If you keep supporting a system that you know is broken, you are in turn to some extent allowing the system to continue.

There is no faith in the ability to make change via voting. What is the way forward for someone to make real change in the world? The voting turnout is slowly dropping, the next generation showing little interest in voting shows how little faith they have in the system.

We are in the golden age of protest. Protests are very good at counter-power – Trying to change the system through protest.

Zeynep Tufekçi – It is getting so much easier to start protests today, how do we try to make a movement move into politics?

Krastev – The governments are so much weaker than we think they are, it’s all about finances. “Politics has been reduced to the art of adjusting to the imperatives of the market”

Means to make change in the world; politics and protest, and trying to find a third way to effectively make change through digital media, the use of the Internet. The Internet cannot be censored, the ultimate place for freedom of speech and lets people interactive with one another. We believed the government wouldn’t care or monitor what was on the Internet and that it wouldn’t be possible (encryption etc), a stupid belief in hindsight. The government uses the Internet to their advantage.

Open politics to new leaders – Increase transparence – Direct participant in legislation.

How do we make modern protests effectively move from a movement into politics to allow for real world change?

People don’t trust the government, the banks, corporations, press, NGO’s, but we still trust the military? What it is the status of trust in Europe? Trust is at an all-time low (see the trust index). We have to find a way to take this distrust and turn it into an advantage.

Inequality, transparency, professionalisation, powerlessness.

Efficacy within mistrusted systems – Monitorial citizenship – Building decentralise alternatives. Promise tracker – data collection for civic action (promise

Re:publica. (2015) re:publica 2015 – Ethan Zuckerman: The system is broken – and that’s the good news. YouTube . 05 May. Available from: [Accessed 19 January 2017]

New Media, New Civics? By Ethan Zuckerman

A digital protest narrative via use of hashtags on Twitter. Does digital protesting actually make a difference? Do ‘higher ups’ consider the impact of online protests when considering whether or not to make a change? Does protesting digitally reflect that protesters are lazy? As opposed to being active in the community/public etc. Or does it allow for further reach? And show that digital protestors do not want to be out on the streets where potentially violence and assaults could take place.

New forms of civic engagement online – Particularly the younger generation. What is easy to accomplish online and how change unfolds in the world.

Real world problems and issues are not taught to the younger generation when in school, henceforth why the younger generation are less knowledgable about the things that matter, and are not educated enough on the issues, therefore choose not to take part.

“You can elect new governments, you can protest against those in power, but you’ve got no influence over the economic forces that make nations unliveable” – Krastev, 2013

Pew Research Center’s (2010) findings on millennials and civic engagement: their polling suggests that millennials engage in voting less than other generations, but are at least as likely to boycott, buycott or sign online or paper petitions. The people interviewed were happy to be called activists but strongly resisted the “political” label, seeing politics as something professionalised, captured by powerful forces and entirely outside of their control.

The term “participatory civics” refers to forms of civic engagement that use digital media as a core component and embrace a post-“informed citizen” model of civic participation. One of the characteristics of this version of civics is an interest—perhaps a need—for participants to see their impact on the issues they’re trying to influence. Practitioners of participatory civics have grown up on participatory media: they are used to being able to share their perspectives and views with the world, and to seeing their influence in terms of how many people read and share their words. This desire to see participation directly has been most apparent in the online giving space.

Participatory civics tends to be driven by specific passions, not by broader adherence to political movements or philosophies.

Educating the younger generation on civic participation in school, or even after school, could make them more knowledgable and engaged with civics and real world issues, thus potentially increasing the likelihood of achieving change in the world.

Many young people are figuratively exiting by disengaging with politics.

In the past, bringing 50,000 people out for a protest required months or years of planning and negotiation between different interest groups. When those groups took to the streets, they represented the hard work necessary to build coalitions, and their presence was a signal to authorities that they faced well-organised, deep resistance.

How should we teach civic participation to a generation of “digital natives?”

So I leave you with a question: Civics is changing. How do we help those inspired by The Hunger Games use digital tools to become participatory, passionate, and effective civic actors?

Zuckerman, E. (2013) Introduction: New Media, New Civics? [online]. Available from: [Accessed 19 January 2017].