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By Mercedes Doménech Enseñat, Staff Writer
Last week London School of Economics (LSE) Students’ Union (SU) hosted yearly Student Media Conference, which welcomed interested students and staff in a series of talks discussing media today. The conference closed with a panel formed by fellow student James Lo, who is also the spokesperson for the Hong Kong Overseas Alliance; LSE lecturer and specialist in activist cultures Dr. Bart Cammaerts; Amnesty International vice-chair Hannah Perry; and campaigner at 38 Degrees Rebecca Falcon.
Over the course of a hour, the four speakers considered the impact and uses of social media such as Facebook or Twitter, arguing for the pros and cons of ‘clicktivism’ or ‘hacktivism’. According to the panel, online activism (‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ something online) is an effective tool as long as it is only a compliment to traditional forms of protest and activism. The panel discussed the possibilities of social media as an opportunity for ‘peripheral activists’, as Lo defines individuals who are not full time activists, to participate in protests.
Ms. Perry saw in social media a new source of interaction between protesters, activists and organisations. According to her, social media enables organisations to access data provided by users to explore more effective ways to protest and increase awareness.
The conference ended in a happy note after a short question and answer session, when some of the attendees had a chance to speak to the members of the panel.