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The man of the year

Guy Verhofstadt
Mr. Guy Verhofstadt

The man of the year
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar
2009


A proven Democrat, protector and fighter for justice and human rights in the World.

Een bewezen Democraat, beschermer en strijder voor rechtvaardigheid en mensenrechten in de Wereld.

Un prouvé démocrate, protecteur et combattant pour la justice et des droits de l'homme dans le Mond.

Eine bewährte Demokrat, Beschützer und Kämpfer für Gerechtigkeit und Menschenrechte in der Welt.

Dokazani demokrat,
 zaštitnik i borac za pravdu i ljudska prava u Svijetu.




The man of the year

Guarantee
Peace in the World
BUT NO MORE


Mr. Barak Hossein Obama

The man of the year
L'homme de l'an
De man van het jaar
2012


Guarantee
peace in the world

Garantie
vrede in de wereld

Garantie
la paix dans le monde

Garantie des Friedens in der Welt

Zabezpečenie
mieru vo svete

Garancija
mira u svijetu





Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis



Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities.
Murray Hunter




The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies
Murray Hunter




There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially
Murray Hunter




Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter



Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter



The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter



Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter



Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter



Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity - Murray Hunter



   The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter



How motivation really works - Murray Hunter



Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter



 The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter



Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter



  How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter



How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter



People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter



One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunte


   
Does Intrapreneurship exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter



 What’s with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter



   Integrating the philosophy of Tawhid – an Islamic approach to organization - Murray Hunter



Samsara and the Organization - Murray Hunter



Do Confucian Principled Businesses Exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter



 Knowledge, Understanding and the God Paradigm - Murray Hunter



On Some of the Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship - Murray Hunter



How feudalism hinders community transformation and economic evolution: Isn’t equal opportunity a basic human right? - Murray Hunter



The Dominance of “Western” Management Theories in South-East Asian Business Schools: The occidental colonization of the mind. - Murray Hunter



Ethics, Sustainability and the New Realities - Murray Hunter



The Arrival of Petroleum, Rockefeller, and the Lessons He taught Us - Murray Hunter - University Malaysia Perlis



 Elite educators idolize the “ high flying entrepreneurs” while deluded about the realities of entrepreneurship for the masses: - Murray Hunter



Lessons from the Invention of the airplane and the Beginning of the Aviation Era - Murray Hunter



Missed Opportunities for ASEAN if the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) fails to start up in 2015 - Murray Hunter



From Europe, to the US, Japan, and onto China: The evolution of the automobile - Murray Hunter




ASEAN Nations need indigenous innovation to transform their economies but are doing little about it. - Murray Hunter



Do Asian Management Paradigms Exist? A look at four theoretical frames - Murray Hunter



Surprise, surprise: An Islam economy can be innovative - Murray Hunter



Australia in the "Asian Century" or is it Lost in Asia? - Murray Hunter



Australia "Do as I say, not as I do" - The ongoing RBA bribery scandal - Murray Hunter


 
Entrepreneurship and economic growth? South-East Asian governments are developing policy on the misconception that entrepreneurship creates economic growth. - Murray Hunter



Hillary to Julia "You take India and I'll take Pakistan", while an ex-Aussie PM says "Enough is enough with the US" - Murray Hunter



 




The political character of Social Media:
How do Greek Internet users perceive and use social networks?


by Dimitra Karantzeni

dimikar87@yahoo.gr

Abstract

This study investigates the political potential of social networks as popular platforms of mediated communication. The findings of the survey reveal the level of engagement of Greek internet users with different social media, the particular ways in which they prefer to use them as well as their future expectations as regards the development of these platforms and their deeper penetration into Greek society.

Keywords

Social media, Greece, politics, communication, citizen participation

Mass media, due to their symbolic character as well as their level of penetration into every aspect of social life, play a significant role in the formation of identity. According to Mezek (2011, p. 7), they have a triple role: “an information broker, arena for ideas and a community sustainer”, or in other words, they act as a forum for “public influence, identity and solidarity” (Alexander and Jacobs, 1998, p. 26). Thompson underlines the importance of media, as means of “acculturalisation”, that partly formulate our perceptions of belonging in groups and communities, creating a so-called, “mediated sociality” (Thompson, 1995, p. 35).

Social media in particular, appear to have taken – intentionally or not – a fundamental role in the awakening of citizens, especially the young ones that are keen internet users. Posting a statement on our personal Facebook page or updating our tweets has been gradually integrated to our everyday lives, at a level that we can no longer easily recall our previous ways of self-expression. To what extent, though, is it normal to adjust our life moments to a social platform that will afterwards do the hard job to securely mediate our ideas, anguishes or feelings to our internet companions? Is that kind of semi-protected exposure – as we don’t confront face to face any possible contradictions or disapprovals – a step forward to human communication, and even more, could that have real effects on the re-politicization of citizens?

When I first joined Facebook, back in 2007, no one really could imagine how this communicative tool could work. It was just funny to find your past acquaintances, take a look at their personal information and photos sometimes without them even knowing it and feed our need of curiosity about how their lives are progressing. Real, pure, on real time information has escaped the strict limits of professional journalism and has now passed into the hands of ordinary citizens, who testify the events they experience, thus leaving no room for any kind of misrepresentation or falsification, by the government oriented Media organizations.

As a matter of fact, we should consider social media not only as multitasking, communicative platforms, but also as rapidly developing, coordinating tools for joined actions, new initiatives, even protests and new political movements. 1 It is of high importance to focus on the symbolic character of a new, digital community that was born from its citizens’ deep need for expression, contribution, sharing and participation. In fact, it is what we call “shared awareness,” the ability of each member of a group to not only understand the situation at hand but also understand that everyone else does, too. Social media increase shared awareness by propagating messages through social networks. (Shirky,C., 2011, p 7)

On the other hand, there is a lot of skepticism towards social media and their possible political effects that are according to them, more or less a form of a ‘couch-potato democracy’. In particular, its critics are describing these alternative kinds of political engagement as an easy and low-cost method to virtually participate in a protest, without actually contributing to social or political change - ‘‘committed actors cannot click their way to a better world ’’. (Shirky,C., 2011 p 9). Though, a possible answer here could be that social media’s effectiveness doesn’t derive from a kind of an exclusive ability to change the world, but on the contrary, from their contribution to a new system of coordinated social movements that aim to totally utilize the benefits of digital, information society.

But still, to what extent could we rely on social media for the development of our social presence in the world, and after all, is it really a progress to participate and contribute to both interpersonal and social actions, securely hidden behind our laptop or cell phone? The voices against the level of social media’s penetration have strengthened, somehow doubting the maintenance of human integrity through these processes. As Prof. Anis Bajrektarevic characteristically puts it, ‘’Human integrity is self-molested (brutalized) and self-reduced (trivialized) to a lame shop-window commodity, which is purchasable 24/7 by ‘poking’ on the photo of someone’s personal profile. And, likies are available to give a rating for ‘displayed commodities’.(Bajrektarevic, A. 2011). Additionally, when it comes to politics, part of the scientific community underlines the necessity to perceive social networks only as supportive tools to more fundamental freedoms (public speech, free press, interpersonal communication, free and fair elections etc.) and not as a panacea to every socio-political uprise. After all, seen from a historical point of view, media have always played a fundamental role in social change but other more determinant factors led the road to change. According to German philosopher Jurgen Habermas, the printing press helped in Europe’s democratization process by providing free space for discussion and political interaction among citizens (in Shirky, C. 2011, p 6) 2.

However, the main aim of this article is to present and discuss the findings of a short survey, which tried to examine how Greek internet and social media users, perceive social networks, how exactly do they utilize them and even question the level of engagement of the latter ones with current socio-political affairs.

The conduction of this survey (which started on June 10th and was finalized on June 29th 2014) was based on the method of Simple Random Sampling, which is the most widely-used probability sampling method and was considered as the most suitable one for the limited audience of 100 respondents, as it was both easy to implement and analyze. After the target group was clearly specified, all possible respondents were equally likely to participate. The link to this online survey – written in Greek as it was specifically addressed to Greek citizens, indigenous or expatriates – was repeatedly posted on my personal accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, My space, on different social groups of Universities of Political Science/Communication/International Studies, students’ fora of University Departments (MBA Program – Athens Open University, Department of Social Work -Technological Institute of Crete), Associations of Young Scientists (i.e. Scientific Association of Young Political Scientists - EONEPE) and other research groups, profile pages of online journals (Apopseis.gr, Politicsonline.gr) etc. and was also sent via e-mail to all my corresponding contacts.


Target Group


In this short survey, we have focused on the age category of 18-35 years old (even though we have very few responses that exceed this age limit). The reason why we have selected this particular target group is that it represents a number of citizens that are both politically active and digitally literate at a significant level, compared to citizens of other age groups. According to Eurostat (2009), in 2008, more than 70 % of those aged 16–24 used a computer daily and 66 % used the internet every day or almost every day, mostly from home and from the place of education. Especially young generations (aged 16–24) have integrated the Internet into their day-to-day life as a communication tool, e.g. using search engines to find information (86 %), sending emails with attached files (77 %) or posting messages on chat rooms (61 %) (European Commission, Youth in Europe, 2009).

Despite a few expected deviations, the homogeneity of this target group could be explained through its main distinguishing features:

Political and social activity.

Deep diffusion of new technology and digital means of communication.

Common social interests (future employment prospects, socio-economic stability, environmental issues etc.)

Less entrenched social perceptions. (Karantzeni, D., and Gouscos, Dimitris G. 2013, pp 485)

Although, we have chosen to include the citizens of between 25-35 years old as well, as they are, in most cases, more politically mature with the comparative advantage of multiple, previous voting experiences as well as of a consequent greater engagement with politics in general.


Findings

One of the first questions aimed to investigate which are the most popular social networks between Greek internet users. Facebook is a great winner, gathering a 42% of the total of responses.

Furthermore, the majority of respondents appear to have got engaged with social networking services between 2007 (19.4%) and 2008 (27.6%). This appears to be strongly related with the gradual growth of Internet users in Greece, after 2007. According to Mecometer’s online statistics3, Greece's Internet users had a positive growth of 31.5% during the Great Recession, as well as another positive growth of 32.1% since the end of it. From 24% of active users back in 2005, we have 32.25% in 2006, 35.88% in 2007, 44.40% in 2010, reaching a total of 57.85% in nowadays (2014). 4


When did you start joining these (or one of these) social networks for the first time?


An interesting, though predictable finding is that the majority of users prefer portable devices to stay connected on social networks (cell phones, laptops etc.). The level of penetration of social media in people’s everyday lives is more than profound, as they feel the necessity to embed this usage in every particular aspect of their day, from a simple comment about the weather or the traffic, to the uploading of photos, usually on real time, from their night out, trip, or any other kind of excursion. Of course, the attraction of numerous likes/retweets etc., is more than essential.

Another important issue is the considerable differentiation of users’ attitude towards social media’s character/role when they first joined these networks compared to nowadays. To be more specific, the majority of users, when they first joined social media – between 2007 and 2008 – thought that they had to deal with another platform of indirect, mediated communication, or a free space for entertainment (funny games/applications etc.).

Additionally, some of them focused on the opportunity of finding friends and other acquaintances that would probably be connected in the same network, whereas only very few perceived social media as new sites for information on news and events all around the world. Furthermore, there was a minority of respondents who stated that they hadn’t been totally aware of the extent of its/their uses in the first place. On the contrary, today most of the respondents argue that they consider social media as an open environment for information with the capability of interactivity or an open environment for self-expression with multiple possible receivers.

The third most popular answer is that social media are means of frequent, general information. That proves that there has been a gradual transformation on how Greek citizens – internet users perceive social networks. From a typical, communicative use of these platforms they have eventually found a new, alternative field of self-expression, that is though completely different from keeping a personal blog or journal, as in the case of social media, there is the opportunity of numerous receivers in a direct and on real time way, that could even lead to the incitement of new trends, actions and initiatives with unforeseen consequences. (see i.e. the Arab Spring). The distance is somehow eliminated and the citizens feel a new, almost provocative sense of freedom of thought that, for the first time in the digital world, it counts.

So, beyond this positive theoretical approach, how do Greek citizens prefer to use social networks? Unfortunately, there is not any coherence between the ways respondents characterize or perceive these networks and the ways they actually use them. A notable idea that seems to be prevailing among the respondents is that they use social media as informative platforms. Reading the timeline, with all their friends/followers updates as well as the groups that they’ve joined (e-journals and news sites, companies’ profiles, institutions’ accounts, celebrities etc.) is obviously the most common use.

Furthermore, the respondents seem to pay attention on the opportunity to read, upload or reproduce different news or articles concerning less popular topics and interests, that are probably hidden in the chaotic environment of the internet and the anonymity it offers – numerous blogs and sites with articles and news of controversial credibility - . So, instead of individually searching through the internet to find news that have been excluded from the agenda of the predominant means of communication, internet users can now use social platforms as an alternative environment that massively gathers such information. Of course, the danger of exchanging unverified, doubtful information still exists.

The second most popular use is the communication between friends/followers. After all, there is always the need to take advantage of the opportunity to directly communicate with everyone for free and also with the enhanced ability to choose between multiple options (instant messaging, exchanging of photos and other archives, video calls, group chat etc.)

Only a minor percentage of respondents – around 3.3% - states that their most common use of social media is to write and upload personal statements/tweets or links on their personal page/account.

Now when they do write a personal statement, how often do they feel this need for public self-expression and what is it about? Well they are interested in expressing their thoughts and feelings by writing statements in their personal account’s walls or timelines, but only occasionally as only a 13.4% uploads a fresh new statement every day. Most of them choose to post a statement very rarely (35.1%), and the responses that follow record a usage that ranges between one or two times a week and one or two times a month. What about their favourite topics? Comments and uploads just for fun (33.3%), comments on personal moments of their lives or their friends’ lives (28.1%), general comments on current issues or the news agenda (15.6%), comments related to social problems that aim to sensitize others (6.3%), comments related to sports (1%), other topics – unfortunately not specified - (6.3%).

So, have Greek internet users chosen a more passive attitude towards social networking? They seem to almost silently participate in everything, giving priority to leisure and fun, hiding their thoughts and ideas behind a like, a share or a retweet but still, they avoid the direct way of self-expression that would of course be exposed to criticism. The irony here is that they do not feel the same reluctance when exposing their personal moments in public (photos, videos etc.), which probably seems to them more harmless and carefree.

When it comes to politics, it appears that there is a considerable hesitation of citizens to recognize a possible political character in social media and even more to have corresponding prospects from their regular use.

First of all, there is an interesting tie between the two prevalent responses, that are very different to each other, as a percentage of (15.31%) totally disagrees with the idea that social media are a secure environment for open political debates, resulting to a sum of 55.12% of respondents, that have chosen between the first 4 points (1-4) of the scaled responses), actually meaning that the majority vividly disagree with the statement, whereas another 15.31% has selected the option 7, showing that they somehow agree with the statement, even if they have some second thoughts or doubts. Perhaps results would be different if there were just a few, particular responses available (like totally disagree, disagree, agree and totally agree), but now that respondents had to choose from a wider range of responses and were given the opportunity to self-evaluate the degree of their agreement/disagreement, the findings reflect some kind of division among the Greek social networkers.

Additionally, most of the respondents don’t believe that these platforms create a new sense of proximity between the citizens and the politicians that use them. Here we have a clear disagreement of 61.22%, with the most popular answers ranging from 1-4 points, expressing total disagreement with the statement.

At the same time though, they strongly disagree with the idea that social media are entertainment platforms (the most popular answer is point 1 – standing for complete disagreement with a percentage of 20.41% and the second most popular is point 3, reflecting a strong disagreement for the 12.4% of respondents), and should only considered as such, which is by the way, proportional to the ways the majority of them chooses to use these networks, as outlined above.

Moreover, there is an intense fear expressed, that could partly explain this negative attitude, and that is that social media gradually lead to a limitless, uncontrolled exposure of personal political beliefs/orientation etc. (18.37% of respondents chose option 8, considerably agreeing with the statement, and another 14.29% gave 10 points, completely agreeing with this idea.) So here, we are in front of an interesting outcome; people feel free to express themselves on everyday affairs, to make comments or statements, even to participate in short dialogues that criticize the ongoing issues.

Sometimes, just a news update on the timeline is more than enough to offer all the necessary incentives to the users, through its reproduction or the placement of a simple commentary. Nevertheless, they are unwilling to step outside these borders and expose themselves to a clear political debate, as they feel that this free space hardly offers a secure and controlled environment for a serious, argument-based, depolarized dialogue between the citizens and the politicians.

At the same time though, a great number of respondents strongly accepts the idea that social media provide people with new accessibility opportunities on political affairs and recognize -although very reluctantly- that social networks raise fruitful debates and arguments on major socio-political affairs. (answers from 7-10 are the most popular between the respondents, with the majority of them showing their highest agreement with the statement – 16.33% voted with 10 points).

Statement 1: Social media are a secure environment for open political debates

Statement 2: Social media provide people with new accessibility opportunities on political affairs

Statement 3: Social media create a new sense of proximity between the citizens and the politicians that use them

Statement 4: Social media are entertainment platforms and should only considered this way

Statement 5: Social media gradually lead to a limitless, uncontrolled exposure of personal political beliefs/orientation etc.

Statement 6: Social media raise fruitful debates and arguments on major socio-political affairs

Statement 7: I don’t know

Consequently, they realize the potential of these networks as means of enhancing citizens’ political participation but they don’t feel convinced yet that it is safe or worth getting engaged with these alternative methods. That is also crystal clear in a particular point of the survey: in the question ‘’Do you consider social media as a suitable environment for self-expression or open discussions/debates on major political affairs?’’, 44.4% of the respondents answered probably yes and another said 15.2% surely yes.

Only a question below, the same respondents denied that social media are a secure environment for open political debates. (as analyzed above).. So, according to them, social media are suitable for self-expression and open discussions on political affairs but not for an open political debate that is significantly more organized and requires awareness of the ongoing matters, clear political position, active and responsible participation, confrontation with politicians as well as willingness to express opposition if necessary.

Another possible reason might be that social media, due to their extremely diverse nature, from funny games and pastime applications to the transfer of important political, socio-economic etc. information, do not seem to have a stable, trustful profile that will predetermine its audience for the necessary accuracy, appropriateness or even seriousness they should involve.

However, it’s almost a unanimous point of view that Greek politicians do not have a satisfactory presence on social media. Particularly, 40.8% of respondents state that Greek politicians have not realized the political potential of social media yet, 15.3% argue that politicians have rejected social media as an alternative means of political influence or interaction with citizens and another 30.6% admits that the latter have a limited presence but they also believe that they wish to intensify it in the future.

Only a 13.3% considers Greek politicians’ engagement to social networks satisfactory. That is probably a good explanation of citizens’ skepticism towards a future political potential of these networks. In fact, Greek politicians have lately embedded their social media presence in their political attitude, mainly by using Twitter, where they upload their tweets – comments related to ongoing political and economic affairs, inter-party issues, and they sometimes answer to press reviews or even argue against the opposition parties. Their tweets are at times, a ‘hot topic’ for some TV news programs, but that’s probably the media organizations’ struggle for more spicy and scandalous news events. Their presence on Facebook, the most popular social network at the moment, is limited to the existence of a profile account, with official announcements, press releases etc.

 Although, they still face social networks as – more or less – announcement boards, where they can earn temporary popularity or display their TV presence and electoral campaign. They maintain an indirect way of semi-participation, ignoring the important power of direct communication and enhanced proximity that these platforms could offer. Greek political communication analysts, Ms Maria Katsikovordou and Mr. Stathis Haikalis, seem to agree with this statement, by supporting it with particular examples. 5

Although, all this hesitation illustrated above, does not actually reflect a negative attitude of Greek social networkers towards the future political potential of social media use. On the contrary, the prevalent future expectations underline the importance of focusing on social problems that are traditionally less featured by the predominant mass media institutions (25.5%), as well as the transformation of these networks into reliable, up-to-date, general information (19.70%). In addition to the above, 15.40% of respondents envision a greater participation of citizens on major socio-political affairs via social media, whereas a percentage of 12.70% thinks that social networks use should be expanded to the field of conducting open political debates. Only a 10.4% of respondents has voted for the further enhancement of indirect, mediated communication features (chat, personal messaging, video calls, etc. ) and a minor percentage of 6.9% hopes that social platforms be limited on the fields of leisure/entertainment (games, pictures, applications, videos etc. ).

What are your personal future expectations from social media?


Concluding Remarks

Greek internet users are highly engaged to social networks, whereas their most frequent occupation is reading the timeline, the posts and the news and in general, keeping themselves informed on both the personal aspects of their friends/followers lives and the current news agenda. The most popular social networks are Facebook (42%), LinkedIn (18%) and Twitter (15%). The majority of respondents joined at least one social network between 2007 and 2008, a fact that could highly attributed to the great diffusion of Internet usage in Greece, after 2007. The most preferable devices so to stay connected are the portable ones (portable personal computer 36.50%, cell phone (35.50%), revealing an attitude that notably embodies social media presence to physical, everyday social presence.

When they first joined social networks, Greek internet users perceived them – more or less – as on-line communicative platforms or chatrooms (36.4%), a useful application to find old friends and acquaintances (19.2%), accompanied with some funny, pastime applications and games (25.3%). There was also a minor percentage of respondents, that hadn’t been totally aware of their actual use (8.1%). Nowadays, they focus on the free access of real-time general information with the added value – compared to other blogs or news sites – of being able to interactively participate, bring issues forward, start a conversation on a hot topic, criticize or express disapproval and await for immediate feedbacks or responses.

They like to express their thoughts and feelings but not every day. They update their statements once/twice a week or once/twice a month and even more rarely, and they prefer to talk about their lives or make comments on their friends posts, keeping all this basically to an amusing level. Furthermore, they share, post or re-tweet news on their own or their friends’ timeline and in this way they place their opinion on what is going on in the world, by texting or just ‘like-ing’.

If we could somehow illustrate the social image of these networks – at least for the questioned target group – we might present it as a new field of multidimensional interaction, a new alternative opportunity for ordinary citizens to speak for their selves, to be heard, to be followed by a familiar or unknown audience, bring important social problems in the limelight and other less featured aspects of everyday life, the way they feel it and not the way others demonstrate it.

They don’t see social media just as entertaining platforms, they recognize the numerous opportunities they offer as tools of enhancing citizens’ awareness and participation but they don’t trust social media as mediated platforms on serious ongoing political affairs i.e. open political debates etc.

Greek internet users appear to feel the intriguing power that these networks offer in the political arena, by opening closed doors, by gaining access to a previously strict, top-down approach on the application of political power, as they have the sense that their word could count, if added to a massive, rapid movement of politically active citizens. At the same time though, a great number of respondents questions the reliability and the effectiveness of such methods and is also disappointed with the way Greek politicians have seized this new opportunity of mediatized communication between them and the citizens (more than half of respondents), whereas another 30.6% more optimistically argues that Greek politicians may have a limited presence but they are willing to intensify.

In addition to this, most of them also doubt that these networks have created a sense of proximity between them and the politicians. The fear of the unknown as well as the traditionally taboo-subject of openly expressing your political orientation and beliefs could probably explain this hesitation, but only in the first place, as if we’d scratch the surface we could see that all this behavior – conscious or not – has a very strong basis. This means that it is not possible and it is not right to build a brand new, digital world, based on likes and pokes, comments, shares and retweets, we cannot simply text-message a war or peace situation, we mustn’t have emoticons substitute the real expression of our anguishes and feelings.

Because of the extreme simplicity of these actions, it is easier to copy a saying, to imitate a behavior, to adopt an action just because it is currently in fashion; it’s posted everywhere, liked by everyone or in other words, because we’ve been brain-washed with it. Literacy is far more important than social media usage and only deep knowledge and personal opinion formulation could change something in the world, accompanied of course by any means available. By no means should we underestimate the incredible power of rapid massive coordination of publics that social media offer as a major step to collective action.

On the contrary, we must admit that it’s the level and the frequency of exposure to major social events and current political issues which social media offers to its users that reinforces active participation. ‘‘Conceptually, social discourse exposes people to a wide range of information that may influence participatory decisions, such as information about the desirability of participation. Discussions with friends who are interested or active in politics can help people learn about the reasons for participating while reinforcing the idea that such behavior is desirable among one’s peers.’’ 6 (McClurg, Scott D., 2003, p. 6).

We just have to always bear in mind that these tools are useless if not exploited carefully, as quality and not quantity should be the primary criterion for every social rally. No digital means of communication, no matter how up-to-date it is and the range of opportunities it offers, should substitute real, active participation, with a physical presence on socio-political affairs, deep consciousness and critical mind, free thinking and decision making, especially during voting periods. There’s always the other side of the coin, where regimes of all kinds, even the most oppressive ones, become highly literate on the usage of social media and gradually transform them to perfect means of citizens’ deception and manipulation.


References

Alexander, J.C. and Jacobs, R.N. (1998), “Mass communication, ritual and civil society”, in Liebes, T. and Curran, J. (Eds), Media, Ritual and Identity, Routledge, London, pp. 23-41.

Bajrektarevic, A. (2011), Is there life after Facebook? The Cyber Gulag revisited & Debate reloaded, GHIR 11(2) 2012, Addleton Academic Publishers New York

European Commission, Youth in Europe – A statistical portrait, Luxembourg: Publications of the European, 2009

Eurostat (2009), “Youth in Europe – a statistical portrait”, 2009 edn, Eurostat Statistical Books available at: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-78-09-920/EN/KS-78-09-920-EN.PDF (accessed 15 October 2013).

Karantzeni, D. and Gouscos, Dimitris G., eParticipation in the EU:Re-focusing on social media and young citizens for reinforcing European identity, Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 7 No. 4, 2013, pp. 485

McClurg Scott D., Social Networks and Political Participation: The Role of Social Interaction in Explaining Political Participation, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Dep. Of Political Science, 2003, available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=ps_pubs&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.gr%2Fscholar_url%3Fhl%3Del%26q%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fopensiuc.lib.siu.edu%2Fcgi%2Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1007%2526context%253Dps_pubs%26sa%3DX%26scisig%3DAAGBfm37ARGyvu1_lt53C1rm5j3Nv85hA%26oi%3Dscholarr%26ei%3D3NwAVKnSKcbT4QTwn4C4DQ%26ved%3D0CB8QgAMoATAA#search=%22http%3A%2F%2Fopensiuc.lib.siu.edu%2Fcgi%2Fviewcontent.cgi%3Farticle%3D1007%26context%3Dps_pubs%22

Mezek, S. (2011), European Identity and the Media – Re-definition of Identity, pp. 10-11, Stockholm University, Department of Political Science, available at: www.statsvet.su.se/mediarum/Media_and_Politics_2/PDF/Cpapers/european_identity_and_media.pdf

Shirky, C. (2011) ’The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere and Political Change’, Clay Shirky, January/February 2011, available at: http://www.bendevane.com/FRDC2011/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/The-Political-Power-of-Social-Media-Clay-Sirky.pdf

Thompson, J.B. (1995), The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media, Polity Press,Cambridge, p. 186.


Dimitra Karantzeni

She can be contacted at: dimikar87@yahoo.gr


Links

Internet Live Stats: http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users-by-country/

Macro-Economy Meter - Mecometer : http://mecometer.com/whats/greece/internet-users/

Dimitra Karantzeni is a graduate of Communication and Mass Media from the University of Athens, also holding a M.Sc. in European and International Studies from the School of Law, Economics and Political Sciences of the same University. She is currently working as a Communication Specialist and independent researcher on the Journal of Modern Diplomacy. http://moderndiplomacy.eu/

1 This vividly explains why the authoritarian governments desperately try to limit their effects by barring the access to the internet via mobiles or personal computers. (see i.e. Arab Spring).

2 As referenced in ‘’The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, the Public Sphere and Political Change, Clay Shirky, January/February 2011, pg 6

3 http://mecometer.com/whats/greece/internet-users/

4 http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users-by-country/

5 http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/?aid=449197 : Article: ‘’The keyboard elections’’, 18/03/2012 (in greek)

6 Social Networks and Political Participation: The Role of Social Interaction in Explaining Political Participation, Scott D. McClurg, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Dep. Of Political Science, 2003, pg 6

17.10.2014




PUBLICATIONS:


   The political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and use social networks? - by Dimitra Karantzeni

   Were the Crusades Justified? A Revisiting - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella

   Europe – the letzte Mensch or Übermensch, the new Byzantium or declining Rome - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic

   Brazil – New Age - Patricia Galves Derolle

   “War as Usual” in Palestine. Can Kosovo’s Independence Serve as Role Model for a Way Out? - by Corinna Metz

   Global Climate Negotiations and Politics - Alisa Fazleeva

   A Modest “Australian” Proposal to Resolve our Geo-Political Problems - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella

   From WWI to www.PUTIN NEXT DR - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

   Palestine has right to resist occupier: Expert

   Is the ‘crisis of secularism’ in Western Europe the result of multiculturalism? - by Peny Sotiropoulou

   EU = SU² - An ahistorical enterprise?

   Towards A Europe Without Political Prisoners
 
   Sea Shepherd: Eco terrorists or the front line to protect social justice? - Murray Hunter

    Ukraine needs Codes of Tolerance to cool down

    The Caspian 5 and Arctic 5 – Critical Similarities - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic

    Malaysian Boeing 777 accident - Aviation General Blagoje Grahovac

   
Geopolitics and the dramatic confrontation over Crimea

    INDONESIA ELECTION 2014 - By Igor Dirgantara

    Climate_Change_and_Re_Insurance:_The_Human_Security_Issue_SC-SEA_Prof.Anis_Bajrektarevic_&_Carla_Baumer

    Call_for_Action_in_Syria_-_World_Security_Network_reporting_from_Berlin_in_Germany,_January_23,_2014

    HE ONGOING PUBLIC DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: IMPACTS ON AND LESSONS FOR VIETNAM - Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]

   
The emergence of the Bhikkhuni Sangha (monkhood for women) in Thailand -
Murray Hunter

   
North Korean Leadership Upheaval: Voices from the South

    20 Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty - Eva MAURINA

   
Is Singapore Western Intelligence's 6th Eye in Asia?- Murray Hunter


   In Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak

   Malaysia: Why the Pakatan Rakyat does not deserve to be the Federal Government - Murray Hunter

  
The Germans to the Front? - Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann

   
The Australian security state is collecting intelligence on an Orwellian scale never seen before
- Murray Hunter

   
Has an 'out of control' intelligence community compromised 'Australia in the Asian Century'?-Murray Hunter

   
The European Court of Justice of Human Rights and Bosnia

   
The Australian Government's new stance on human rights?
- Murray Hunter

    NATO rejects Bosnia and Herzegovina due to Russia's influence - Bakhtyar Aljaf

    The immorality of Australia's prostitution laws
- Murray Hunter

   
Australian Election: Abbott as PM may surprise everyone
- Murray Hunter

    Malaysia: Desperately needing a new national narrative - Murray Hunter

    One Man's view of the world and a thousand faceless men: Singapore's cadre system - Murray Hunter


    How important is the Australian Election? - Murray Hunter

    El Indio: Seeking Symmetry - By Jamil Maidan Flores

 
 
Australian Immigration - the Snowden link? - Murray Hunter

    Sarawak Reenacts Independence from Britain 50 years Ago -Murray Hunter

    The return of Kevin Rudd as Australian PM: For how long? - Murray Hunter

    Reinvigorating Rural Malaysia - New Paradigms Needed - Murray Hunter

    Can there be a National Unity Government in Malaysia? - Murray Hunter

    Will Australian Labor Remain Principled and fall on its own Sword? - Murray Hunter

    Finding a long term solution in the 'Deep South' of Thailand - Murray Hunter

    Islamic Freedom in ASEAN - Murray Hunter
  
    Multiculturalism is dead in Europe – MENA oil and the (hidden) political price Europe pays for it - Author: Anis Bajrektarevic

    Malaysia: It was Never About the Election It was always about what would happen afterwards - Murray Hunter

    Enriching the Sustainability Paradigm - Murray Hunter
 
    Does Australia's 2013 Defence White Paper Signal a Strategic Withdraw? - Murray Hunter

    Where is Saudi Arabian Society Heading? - Abdullah Abdul Elah Ali Sallam & Murray Hunter University Malaysia Perlis

    Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic

    Searching for an end game in the Korean Crisis - Murray Hunter

    Turks suspicious towards German Government - Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann

    The high Australian Dollar: Whose interests is the Reserve Bank of Australia looking after? - Murray Hunter

    Is Secretary Kerry's trip to China a "face saving" measure? - Murray Hunter

    Asia-Pacific at the Crossroads - The Implications for Australian Strategic Defense Policy - Murray Hunter

    Obama's Korean Peninsula "Game" Strategy seeks to achieve a wide range of objectives in his "Asian Pivot" - Murray Hunter

    Institute for the research of genocide - IGC Letter Regarding Vuk Jeremic Agenda in UN

    Who rules Singapore? - The only true mercantile state in the world - Murray Hunter

    The Thai Deep South: Both Malaysia and Thailand Desperately Seeking Success - Murray Hunter

    The desperate plight of Islamic education in Southern Thailand - Murray Hunte

    Who makes public policy in Malaysia? - Murray Hunter

    MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic

    Australia's National Security Paper: Did it amount to lost opportunities? The policy you have when you don't have a policy - Murray Hunter

    Are "B" Schools in Developing Countries infatuated with 'Western' Management ideas? - Murray Hunter

    The Stages of Economic Development from an Opportunity Perspective: Rostow Extended - Murray Hunter

   
Who Really Rules Australia?: A tragic tale of the Australian People - Murray Hunter

    Europe: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue - Murray Hunter

    Back to the future: Australia's "Pacific Solution" reprise - Murray Hunter

    Hillary to Julia "You take India and I'll take Pakistan", while an ex-Aussie PM says "Enough is enough with the US" - Murray Hunter


   
Entrepreneurship and economic growth? South-East Asian governments are developing policy on the misconception that entrepreneurship creates economic growth. - Murray Hunter

   
FOCUSING ON MENACING MIDDLE EAST GEOPOLITICAL ENVIRONMENTS, ENDANGERING SECURITY AND STABILITY OF WESTERN BALKAN* - Brig Gen (Rtd) Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan, Pakistan

   
Australia "Do as I say, not as I do" - The ongoing RBA bribery scandal - Murray Hunter

    Australia in the "Asian Century" or is it Lost in Asia? - Murray Hunter

    Surprise, surprise: An Islam economy can be innovative - Murray Hunter

    Do Asian Management Paradigms Exist? A look at four theoretical frames - Murray Hunter

    What China wants in Asia: 1975 or 1908 ? – addendum - prof. dr. Anis Bajraktarević

   
ASEAN Nations need indigenous innovation to transform their economies but are doing little about it. - Murray Hunter

    From Europe, to the US, Japan, and onto China: The evolution of the automobile - Murray Hunter

    Missed Opportunities for ASEAN if the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) fails to start up in 2015 - Murray Hunter

    Lessons from the Invention of the airplane and the Beginning of the Aviation Era - Murray Hunter

    Elite educators idolize the “ high flying entrepreneurs” while deluded about the realities of entrepreneurship for the masses: - Murray Hunter

    The Arrival of Petroleum, Rockefeller, and the Lessons He taught Us - Murray Hunter - University Malaysia Perlis

    Ethics, Sustainability and the New Realities - Murray Hunter

    The Dominance of “Western” Management Theories in South-East Asian Business Schools: The occidental colonization of the mind. - Murray Hunter

    How feudalism hinders community transformation and economic evolution: Isn’t equal opportunity a basic human right? - Murray Hunter

    On Some of the Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship - Murray Hunter

    Knowledge, Understanding and the God Paradigm - Murray Hunter

    Do Confucian Principled Businesses Exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter

    Samsara and the Organization - Murray Hunter

   
Integrating the philosophy of Tawhid – an Islamic approach to organization. - Murray Hunter

    What’s with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter

    Does Intrapreneurship exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter

    One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison - Murray Hunter

     People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter

     How emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter

     How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter

     Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter

     The five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter

     Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray Hunter

     How motivation really works - Murray Hunter

     The Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter

     Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of entrepreneurial opportunity - Murray Hunter

     Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter

     Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination we use - Murray Hunter

    
The environment as a multi-dimensional system: Taking off your rose coloured glasses - Murray Hunter

     Generational Attitudes and Behaviour - Murray Hunter

     Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter

  
  Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of entrepreneurial opportunities - Murray Hunter

     The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies - Murray Hunter

    
There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially - Murray Hunter

     Go Home, Occupy Movement!!-(The McFB– Was Ist Das?) - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

     Diplomatie préventive - Aucun siècle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic

    
Democide Mass-Murder and the New World Order - Paul Adams


 






Koninkrijk Belgie - Monarchie Belgique










Maasmechelen Village

Maasmechelen Village




Adria





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BALKAN AREA
BALKAN AREA




prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic


 
MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



Go Home, Occupy Movement!! - (The McFB – Was Ist Das?) -
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic




Diplomatie préventive - Aucun sičcle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic\/span|



ADDENDUM – GREEN/POLICY PAPER: TOWARDS THE CREATION OF THE OSCE TASK FORCE ON (THE FUTURE OF) HUMAN CAPITAL
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic




Gunboat Diplomacy in the South China Sea – Chinese strategic mistake -
Anis H. Bajrektarevic




Geopolitics of Quantum Buddhism: Our Pre-Hydrocarbon Tao Future
prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic




The Mexico-held G–20 voices its concerns over the situation in the EURO zone - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



What China wants in Asia: 1975 or 1908 ? – addendum - prof. dr. Anis Bajraktarević







Maasmechelen Village


‘The exhaustion of Greek political system and a society in flames’ - by Dimitra Karantzen










Maasmechelen Village


FOCUSING ON MENACING MIDDLE EAST GEOPOLITICAL ENVIRONMENTS, ENDANGERING SECURITY AND STABILITY OF WESTERN BALKAN* - Brig Gen (Rtd) Dr. Muhammad Aslam Khan, Pakistan



Institute for the research of genocide - IGC Letter Regarding Vuk Jeremic Agenda in UN



Critical Similarities and Differences in SS of Asia and Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic







MENA Saga and Lady Gaga - (Same dilemma from the MENA) - Anis H. Bajrektarevic



Le MENA Saga et Lady Gaga - (Même dilemme de la région MOAN) - Anis Bajrektarevic




Eva MAURINA
20 Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty - Eva MAURINA




Aleš Debeljak
In Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak

ALEŠ DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA

ALEŠ DEBEJAK - INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA


Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]
HE ONGOING PUBLIC DEBT CRISIS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: IMPACTS ON AND LESSONS FOR VIETNAM - Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Assos. Prof.[1] Nguyen Linh[2]



Carla BAUMER
Climate Change and Re Insurance: The Human Security Issue SC-SEA Prof. Anis Bajrektarevic & Carla Baumer



 
Igor Dirgantara
(Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty of Social and Politics, University of Jayabaya)




Peny Sotiropoulou

Is the ‘crisis of secularism’ in Western Europe the result of multiculturalism?




Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella

A Modest “Australian” Proposal to Resolve our Geo-Political Problems

Were the Crusades Justified? A Revisiting - Dr. Emanuel L. Paparella




Alisa Fazleeva earned an MA in International Relations from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom in 2013. Her research interests include foreign policy decision-making, realism and constructivism, and social psychology and constructivism.



 
Corinna Metz is an independent researcher specialized in International Politics and Peace & Conflict Studies with a regional focus on the Balkans and the Middle East.




Patricia Galves Derolle
Founder of Internacionalista
São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil – New Age




Dimitra Karantzeni
The political character of Social Media: How do Greek Internet users perceive and use social networks?