Revolutions are often behind the scene movements, carried out by a select few who are determined to make their voices heard. However, for some, in their way is an oppressive government that censors their messages. This can come in many forms. Some governments choose to take complete control over news and media, thereby regulating a consist flow of rhetoric to the public. Others, such as many Arab nations, make it difficult for their citizens to obtain visas, and thereby prevent revolutionary messages from leaking to neighboring countries. The Internet has promptly become a means by which revolutionary individuals can share and spread messages. In particular, social media facilitates such a need, as messages are shared and passed from friend to friend until they go viral.
The benefits of using social media as a sort of revolutionary platform, is that it is a very efficient tool. There is very little effort spent on the part of the revolutionary, compared to the massive potential for his or her message to be read or heard. This is primarily the reason why cartoons have become such an attractive option for speaking out against injustices. Through a simple picture, perhaps accompanied by a brief message, an artist can represent something wrong with contemporary society. This is all he or she needs to get the ball rolling. It’s like setting a spark to a fuse. Once the message is on social media, it can very easily blow up.
The aforementioned benefits of the Internet and social media are however some of its shortcomings. As social media is constantly changing and flooding with new stories and messages, there is an unfortunately small window an artist has for his or her message to catch wind and stay relevant. This, I think means I was wrong to say it takes very little effort on the artist’s part. There is actually a lot that a cartoon has to have in order to make an impression in such a small window of opportunity. First off, it has to be relatable to the viewer. If it is not, he or she will not show much interest. Second, it has to be either witty or aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, just having a significant message or cause is not enough to go viral on social media. For a cartoon to be successful people have to be impressed by it, it has to stick in their head and be something that viewers can’t help but share with their friends. And yet, even if it accomplishes all of these things, there is still the possibility that it can be overshadowed or completely forgotten by a bigger and better message. This is the danger of revolutions through social media; there are always more trying to get started. People in this day an age have very short attention spans, and only focus on one thing at a time. Therefore a revolutionary cartoon is almost impossible to make a substantial difference. To keep people interested and engaged with the cause, artists must consistently churn out cartoons and messages. Their work is almost a game of percentages; send out enough cartoons, and the chances one or two of them will go viral significantly increases.