Anderson’s Imagined Community describes a nation to be a socially constructed community, where a new community identity is constructed when people perceive themselves as part of a particular group.
So what part of a nation then is imagined?
Maybe how most of us may not know Schooling on a personal level, yet we were cheering for him during that breath-taking 100m fly final. Because despite our varying ethnicities, religions and beliefs, that historic moment brought us together as a nation. The role of the media, both traditional and social, is crucial here.
Social media not only serves as a tool for building online imagined communities, but also as a platform for us to reinforce existing imagined communities – the concept of a nation. We observed that various social media such as Snapchat and Twitter helped to foster stronger perceptions of national unity and commonality. Moreover, the use of hashtags and news feeds have helped community members generate shared conversations and interests.
We will explain it using the three key components of an imagined community:
- Common Language
Affordances of social media enabled us to witness the Schooling’s victory and his parade together as a nation, such as through Facebook live videos and real-time feed updates.
- High Centers
Social media has made high centers in Singapore more prevalent. Immediately after Schooling’s win, posts by media organisations such as Channel NewsAsia, and public figures like Prime Minister Lee garnered thousands of likes and shares.
So don’t feel surprised the next time your heart swells up with pride watching fellow Singaporeans achieving their dreams and pushing boundaries. Get ready to wave that flag high. Our community may be imagined, but our communion is real.
Image 3,4,5: https://twitter.com/hashtag/schoolingwinsgold