Does Google Chrome have the potential to act as an engine to drive political activism? The answer to this question is I believe, no. But why? Google Chrome is effectively a web browser that users access as a tool or platform for searching and traversing the web alongside using it as an entry into the virtual world of Cyberspace. In the case of political activism, Chrome only allows you to access sites where political activism is possible, with this said, you could say that it is still important in the process of political activism.
Now, online political activism is organised and publicised through social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Chrome is good in this case for allowing users to “…coordinate action across a more dispersed network” (Jenkins 2012). But users are generally only supporting these activist groups to a certain extent. Sure they may like a page for a cause that they support but that is generally all they will do, these users won’t turn up to organised protests, they won’t donate money to the cause and they certainly won’t take the initiative as active members who organise these groups. This is called slacktivism which basically means that “once we’ve shown our support and earned the status associated with joining a cause, we feel less obligated to follow through with a meaningful contribution to that cause” (Grant 2014).
I think that Chrome – as a platform – is more about its ability to access these websites where political activism takes place. It is more about “Spreadability” which Jenkins describes (Jenkins 2012) as a group’s ability to spread its message/s to the audience. What follows is “Drillability” which Jenkins describes (Jenkins 2012) as the group’s ability to get down deep into an issue and to defend its position with facts. “Drillability” doesn’t really have anything to do with Google Chrome but it is important to mention because Chrome is the search engine that some users will be using to access the facts that they need to support their activist group.
Jenkins, H 2012, The New Political Commons, Institute for Research on Public Policy, viewed on 11 May 2014, <http://www.irpp.org/en/po/come-together/clicktivism-the-new-political-commons/>
Grant, A 2014, Are You A Slacktivist?, Huffington Post, viewed on 12 May 2014, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-grant/are-you-a-slacktivist_b_4390258.html>
Bill & Vicki T, 2010, like, image, Flickr, viewed 12 May 2014, < https://www.flickr.com/photos/iluvcocacola/8155062740/>