Social Media and Peacemaking: A Snapshot of Literature

Social Media and Peacemaking: A Snapshot of Literature

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3032-9.ch009
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Taken together, this snapshot of articles affirms that social media participates in the process of peacemaking. Unlike traditional media, which used to set the agenda for peace, social media diffuses the process, making it possible to speak on both sides of any issue. These articles reveal that governments like Russia, China, Malaysia, and Turkey can control social media as a key part of propaganda. At the same time, as in the Arab Spring, activist groups can use social media to undermine government, despite the fact that their new approach might prove temporary. Perhaps most important is the view that media continue to mirror society in the digital age. Prior to social media (about 2005), traditional media fulfilled this function until an internal elite cadre of journalists started speaking to each other and controlling the agenda through something they called “advocacy journalism.” Having thus shattered the mirror of society, they now face the prospect of giving way to citizens' journalism, where their gatekeeping function are in rapid decline.
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With the advent of social media and nearly universal access to mass communication, one might expect peace and harmony in the world. Ideally a plethora of messages, with provision for two-way comment and sharing, would lead everyone to understand each other. However, just a glance at the daily news confirms that this is not the case.

Where did social media fail? In future years, social media will represent the advent of a major development in world communication. However, this development has fallen far short of expectations, for social media has contributed to additional conflict, not desired conditions of world understanding, justice, and love.

The purpose of this analysis is to report and classify a brief period of scholarly comment and research studies regarding social media. It is limited to a brief “snapshot” of articles identified by Google Scholar during a three-month period, December 2016 through February 2017. While a much wider search is certainly called for, just this snapshot is informative for anyone desiring to know more about social media and its effect on world peace. If nothing else, it suggests a tentative rubric for future analysis of scholarly works on social media and peace. Table 1 presents a tentative list of categories for such research.

Table 1.
Topics and Publications from Snapshot of Articles on Social media and Peace, December 2016 through February 2017
Social Media Influences International Relations and Activism Barnett, Xu, Chu, Jiang, Huh, Park, & Park (2016)
Vromen (2017)
Fileborn (2016)
Social Media has been Active in Social Protests Reed (2016)
Karolak (2017)
Suh, Vasi, and Chang (2017)
Hodžić & Pajnik (2016)
Spaiser, Chadefaux, Donnay, Russman, & Helbing (2017)
Kaigwa (2017)
Social Media can Support Terrorism/ISIS/extremistsS. Lim (2016)
Durr (2016)
Aistrope (2016)
Social Media can Bypass Censorship Carafano, Bromund, Cheng, Coffey, Curtis, Dale, & Olson (2016)
Power (2016)
M. Lim (2016)
Demir & Bastug (2016)
Social Media Supports Clustering of Citizen Groups Lynch, Freelon, and Aday (2017)
Williams, Gray, Morris, Bradshaw, Williams, & Dixon (2016)
Kanol & Nat (2017)
Khamala (2016)
Cui, Rui & Su (2016)
Kaynar (2016)
Yates (2016)
Social Media may Predict Political Outcomes Ceron, Curini and Iacus (2016)
Gayo-Avello (2016)
Social Media Influence is Short-lived Omoera (2016)
Social Media can Address Women’s and Minority Issues Tahmasebi-Birgani (2017)
Ostertag and Ortiz (2017)
Gordon & Trammel (2016)
Rolle, Billy, Wallace Ford, Kisato, & Ford II (2016)
Social Media has Psychological Dimensions Freitas (2017)
Alakali, Faga & Mbursa (2017)
Liu & Campbell (n.d.)
KhajeNoori & Kaveh (2013)
Social Media supports Digital Religion. Cheong (2014)
Haverinen (2016)
Social Media affects Journalism Kuhles-Heiney (2016)
Jung (2016)
Wright (2016)
Habib (2016)
Manzoor (2017)
Social Media can Impact Administration Manu & Moreno, 2016
Nor Hidayah (2016)
Social Media Communicates in Crises Bachstein (2016)
René (2016)
Dailey and Starbird (2017)
Hwong, Oliver, Van Kranendonk, Sammut, & Seroussi (2017)
Social Media Supports Intelligence Gathering Crawford (2016)

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