New technologies may be helpful to social movements, suggests John Downing, but they are not shortcuts to success. The "fetishism of speed", says Downing, actually presents a problem for those who study social movement media. "It's almost as if a tree could grow roots overnight." Downing argues it's not a question of pushing technology away, but rather of taking a more balanced approach to scholarship.
Downing is the fall 2010 Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar at Media@McGill. His two-week residency includes the keynote talk he gave to an overflow audience October 28th. His extensive publication record includes "Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements", the Sage "Handbook of Media Studies", and the recently published Sage "Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media".