The Frothers Guide to Social Inclusion and Really Getting Into Your Uni Work

Quick preface: After finishing this article and re reading and editing it, I realised it may seem a little essay like, and is somewhat different to the usual stuff I’ve been posting. However being the frother that I am, when reading this article for uni got me all excited I did what I do best… frothed, and wrote my own article about it. Hope it’s not too boring for you normal people out there. But hey, I had fun writing it… Enjoy and maybe even learn something (hopefully).

Social Media, Social Awareness and Social Inclusion
Today’s post is a social affair!
I’ve always found social justice and equality rather romantic notions to align with my own beliefs. In keeping with upholding these values, I recently read an article by Susanna Chamberlain, “Whispers in the wind”: Social Inclusion in the media. The article was part of my university studies however it resonated with me and hence I decided to explore the notion further.
The article delves into the past to give a truly timeless definition of the concept of social inclusion, derived from such movements as taking the power of literacy away from the control of the church through the invention of the Guttenberg printing press in the 1450s. The dissemination of information to the previously uneducated brought about a means of mass education far greater than anything the world had seen. Education led to reformation, which led to early forms of capitalism and eventually to the first signs of bureaucracy in the western world in the mid-1800s.
German sociologist and key figure in the bureaucratization of the western world, Max Weber, attributes this largely to the development of superior communication technologies. Enabling global dissemination of information and greater means of developing hierarchical organisation systems, in different fields of expertise.
Basically, with knowledge came power, and a means of empowerment for those previously at the mercy of those of a ‘higher class’. Empowerment and therefore inclusion form the crux of Chamberlains definition of social inclusion.
Fast forward to today’s world where media outlets are a vast array of multi-platform, inter-networked sources of sound, text, video, image and interactivity and the room for expansion is limited almost only by imagination.
The availability of a wealth of knowledge only a click, Google or tweet away, has meant that new information is presented to us each and every day. Take for instance the following example.
John Smith has 700 friends on Facebook. Of those 700 he personally knows about 200 (at most), the other 500 have through friends of friends of friends, become a part of Mr Smith’s matrix (so much nerd pun intended) of information sources all over the world, despite him never having met them.
One fine morning Mr Smith’s friend living in Moscow updates her status, nonchalantly saying that she’s annoyed by the morning train being five minutes late. Mr Smith, without realising explicitly, has just learned through reading this simple comment, that Moscow must have an efficient public transport system as his contact is alarmed at the seemingly insignificant five minute delay of her morning transport.
Through the use of social media, John Smith has gained social awareness about the public transport system in Moscow and thus experienced a form of social inclusion as per its definition: “The ability to participate in the customary life of the society” (as per the Department of Education, Employment and Work-Place Relations policy on social inclusion, 2009).
This is just a simple example of everyday social inclusion. However, by creating a means of instant, easily accessible global communication, groups in society have access to a means of both seeking and disseminating information. Therefore educating the masses without prejudice, censorship or exclusion.
Returning to the Chamberlain article about the media and its influence on social inclusion throughout time, we can see that this access to education through media was the driving force for social change since its inception. With the power that social networking has provided for minorities to speak and be heard, perhaps social justice and equality are no longer pipe dreams…
At least not for those with access to this internet thingy… but then that’s a whole new inequality discussion in itself…

2 thoughts on “The Frothers Guide to Social Inclusion and Really Getting Into Your Uni Work

  1. Of course social inclusion and empowerment is exemplified by the rising of the masses against the corrupt power elites in the Middle East. The uses of social media to coordinate and overcome was evident in these instances but has also been used to coordinate criminal activity in the name of a political movement such as the London riots.

  2. Sure I agree, however regardless of the nature of activity it is still a means of social inclusion for the masses, hence the power of social media as a driving force for change still stands. The Protestant reformation at the time of the printing press involved plenty of blood shed in the name of progress. However as we look back on the impact dissemination had on progress we still see that it is a powerful vehicle for change. I agree though that it can be used for both good and bad. It is a powerful medium and I personally think we are yet to see the full extent of its potential, both for good and bad… When has progress not come at a price I suppose

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