For my fifth digital culture blog post I’d like to pick a pre-web event, in this case the Vietnam War, and imagine how the web may have changed the event. To give some context, the Vietnam War was a conflict between the United States and communist forces in the southeastern country of Vietnam. The Vietnam War was the first war in which unfiltered information flowed to the general American public; citizens could practically watch the war on the evening news. Not only was the war the first of its kind in terms of public information, it brought a unprecedented level of domestic conflict as well as mistrust in the government. The war completely shifted almost everything about American culture, society, and government – one can only imagine how social media and the internet at large may have changed the war and surrounding topics.
One of my first thought on the possible combination of the Vietnam War and social media was the recent Arab Spring. It’s very possible that if social media exists at the time of the war, the communist forces, or “Viet-cong” may have used it as something to organize their forces as well as spread propaganda for the cause. The Vietnamese were subject to decades of colonization from western powers and were eager to rule their own society through communism. Its very possible that social medias like Twitter and Facebook could have been organization centers for these freedom movements within Vietnam. In the case of the Arab Spring, social media was essential in rallying oppressed people across the middle east. Social media also would have the opinions and rationales of the Vietnamese much more public and known to Americans, just as we could directly monitor the social media posts of oppressed peoples in the middle east.
The second thing that came to mind when I thought about the combination of the Vietnam War and social media was how it could have affected the domestic issues within the United States during the war. Opposition to the war steadily grew once American forces saw major causalities with no real progress being made. A major part of this opposition was the military draft, which required military service for those chosen. I think social media would have only added to this frenzy. People would able to share their opinions, as well as organize much more easily. Not only would their be more organization and sharing of opinions, I think that social media would have resulted in much more significant change with a possible sooner end to the war.
This blog post reminded me of the recent article we read for class, “Facebook broke Democracy”. Social media has had such a significant effect on democracy because of the raw numbers of information and opinions flying around on social media and the internet at large. Democracy is not as simple as it used to be.
*the social media generator I tried to use almost gave me a virus so it didn’t workout*