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The Emergence of Social Media & the Political Crisis in Pakistan
Unformatted Document Text:  Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 21 dialogue within those online comments. The study observed that real-life patterns of discourse and engagement emerged in the comments about the YouTube videos of political crisis. These similarities with real-life situations included the use of informal language for the online comments (both videos), viewers’ reaction to the content of these selected videos (both videos), and an extended dialogue between the online comments based on their agreement or disagreements with each other (for video one). The study implies that YouTube’s ability to broadcast and generate an online discourse on any political or social issue makes this website an important alternate media for journalists in hostile circumstances. Unlike traditional broadcast media, YouTube consumers can engage and react in any sort of dialogue directly. Also, YouTube allows its users to remain anonymous (Burgess & Green, 2009) while they are engaged in political dialogue with other users. These two qualities make the discourse more vibrant and engaging for all the YouTube consumers and broadcasters regardless of their gender, age and location. The selected YouTube videos for this study were viewed by 24,254 viewers in total by October 2010. As stated earlier, it was not possible to find out the exact number of viewers for the selected time frame in 2007 because YouTube does not provide annual figures. However, both videos received only 27 online comments in total. Different interpretations can be offered for this finding. People who were watching these YouTube videos might be engaging in a political dialogue offline. Or the videos may not have been effective in generating a political dialogue among the viewers. The fear factor may also be another reason for the relatively low numbers of comments. Because of the volatile situation and the ongoing war against terror in Pakistan, people may be scared of an identity breach even though they had the option to use pseudonyms instead of their original identities.

Authors: Arif, Rauf.
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Social media & political crisis in Pakistan 21
dialogue within those online comments. The study observed that real-life patterns of discourse 
and engagement emerged in the comments about the YouTube videos of political crisis. These 
similarities   with   real-life   situations   included   the   use   of   informal   language   for   the   online 
comments (both videos), viewers’ reaction to the content of these selected videos (both videos), 
and   an   extended   dialogue   between   the   online   comments   based   on   their   agreement   or 
disagreements with each other (for video one). 
 The study implies that YouTube’s ability to broadcast and generate an online discourse 
on any political or social issue makes this website an important alternate media for journalists in 
hostile circumstances. Unlike traditional broadcast media, YouTube consumers can engage and 
react in any sort of dialogue directly.  Also, YouTube allows its users to remain anonymous 
(Burgess & Green, 2009) while they are engaged in political dialogue with other users. These 
two qualities make the discourse more vibrant and engaging for all the YouTube consumers and 
broadcasters regardless of their gender, age and location. 
The selected YouTube videos for this study were viewed by 24,254 viewers in total by 
October 2010. As stated earlier, it was not possible to find out the exact number of viewers for 
the selected time frame in 2007 because YouTube does not provide annual figures. However, 
both videos received only 27 online comments in total. Different interpretations can be offered 
for  this  finding.  People  who were  watching  these  YouTube  videos might   be  engaging  in  a 
political dialogue offline. Or the videos may not have been effective in generating a political 
dialogue among the viewers. The fear factor may also be another reason for the relatively low 
numbers of comments. Because of the volatile situation and the ongoing war against terror in 
Pakistan, people may be scared of an identity breach even though they had the option to use 
pseudonyms instead of their original identities. 


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