Digital Activism in the Context of Social Movements: the Case of Change.orgAli Murat Kırık, Ahmet Çetinkaya, Ahmet Kadri Kurşun
With today’s widespread Internet use and the considerable potential of Web 3.0 technology, social movements are not only becoming more prominent but are also significantly affecting greater masses. Indeed, social movements’ most important political feature is their pro-democratic nature and their emergence in oppressive political environments. Led by various vested interests, social movements represent certain interconnected historical sequences of political interactions and practices. In the transforming post-Internet world, however, physical social movements have been replaced by virtual environments. In contrast to new social movements (from the late 20th to the early 21st century), virtual environments do not become specific struggles organized around partial demands and thus do not allow themselves to be easily absorbed by institutional systems. One of the most important characteristics of the city square movements is that, unlike old and new social movements, they can express a wide range of social demands and mobilize highly heterogeneous masses. Thus, as digital activism increases, the latest social movements are occurring in the virtual world. Social movement theory, as a basic substructure of activism, is the interdisciplinary study of social sciences that attempts to explain why and how social mobility occurs and its potential social, cultural, and political consequences. Types of activist movements conducted in the digital environment are encompassed by the concept of digital activism, which currently uses the major tools of online petitions and signature campaigns, social networks, blogs and microblogs, mobile phones, WhatsApp-like applications, and proxy servers. In this study, digital signature campaigns, one of the most used strategies of digital activism, are discussed in the case of change.org, and a quantitative survey is used to determine how digital activism has evolved through signature campaigns and to discuss how digital signature campaigns affect facts and events.