Changing the world, one click at a time; Social media as watch-dog of the cultural industries in Ireland
In 1907, the audience at the first performance of The Playboy of the Western World took umbrage at the subject matter, so they shouted over the dialogue, stormed the stage, and then proceeded to riot outside the theatre until the police force was called to disperse the crowd. In 2017, when radio listeners were upset by remarks made by a prominent presenter, 5,000 people signed an online petition to have him removed from the air.
Social media usage is on an ever-increasing trend. It allows users to communicate not just on a local level, but on a global scale. By the end of 2017, there were 2.46 billion social media accounts active globally, with approximately 2.3 million of them registered in Ireland. It is the aim of this thesis to explore how this is affecting how cultural industries in Ireland are operating.
This thesis first examined how social media works within the networked society and has become a presentation of self. The second chapter looked at social media movements; examining an early critique by Malcolm Gladwell and the positive and negative experiences of movements on a global and national stage. The third chapter took two prominent movements within Ireland where social media has had a critical role to play–Waking the Feminists and the Gate Theatre scandal–and examined how the Irish cultural industries reacted to them. The final chapter then explored how the landscape of social media platforms is open to manipulation, and how movements that rely on these platforms have had to readjust to their environment or risk falling by the wayside.