Social Media in Turkey: Walking the line between opportunity and danger

Turkey, the Western Gateway to the Caucasus, is currently deeply involved in discussions of social media issues. Older Turks anxiously follow the online activity of the average Turkish youth, who spends 7.8 hours per day online. While the older generation regards this as a ‘waste of time’, it has become a ‘living space’ for young people. Inside that virtual space, they develop their own lands and businesses. These innovative products and services have become weapons once integrated into the physical world – for example, the destruction of the music and film industries by online file sharing technologies. Likewise, social media was used as a political weapon during the Arab Spring and during the massive protests against Internet Censorship in Istanbul. Young Turks also benefit from social media as internet entrepreneurs. In addition, top Turkish brands are investing heavily in social media for the future, while the traditional media industry is experiencing serious problems due to their old-fashioned management. This New Medium will grow rapidly and become the center of activity as things develop. Therefore, New Media Literacy will be the keyword in preparing the Caucasus for the Information Age.

Authors: Ismail Hakkı Polat