Social Media Activism: From Online to Offline
Do you often feel a deep yearning to correct the wrongs of the world? Do injustices make you enraged and unable to sleep at night? If so, social media activism could be the calling for you. Social media activists are individuals or groups who strive to make a difference by fighting to enact radical changes in policies and procedures via social media channels.
The fights against hunger, racism, discrimination, and poverty are only a few examples of the national battles social media activists face. New fights emerge daily from issues like bullying and environmental concerns. Here’s a look at how social media activism influences lives.
Forms of Media Activism
Media outlets today allow for faster movement growth than the media outlets of yesterday. Posts on Twitter and Facebook go viral and are seen by millions within minutes. Apps like Whatsapp and Messenger help send many people a group message at once, instantly.
The youth of today are leading movements, from utilizing social media tools to impacting masses of followers. Social media outlets are more than just a way to stay in touch with family and friends. Even news outlets are using social media to change the way it delivers current events. Blogs share knowledge and rally support around an idea or movement.
Culture jamming is a form of social activism and it’s growing increasing in size. It’s a revolt against the commercialization of our world. The purpose is to call out the focus of profitability on big business and corporations. Through social media, culture jamming has an opportunity to grow through rapidly-shared videos and posts.
From Online to Reality
Today, thanks to the popularity of the Internet, many social media activists such as NatCAN, create online campaigns that grow into a significant number of followers. The online groups organize marches, picketing events, and boycotts on national, state, and community levels.
Who would’ve guessed that two words could hold so much power? Women across the world began organizing a women’s movement that proved sexual harassment was much bigger issue than the Harvey Weinstein case. The courage of one woman changed and fueled the courage of many others. #MeToo quickly became a movement that will forever be remembered as women who finally fought back.
Facebook and Twitter play major roles in the growth of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In 2016, several videos of police brutality against African American men were posted on social media. The viral videos created a world of backlash among the African American community. The hashtag with Black Lives Matter was a way to rally and fight back against a system that, for hundreds of years, continued to demonstrate racism and hate towards the black community.
The debate against gun violence has existed for many years. Add to the debate, George Zimmerman and Dylan Roof. It only took one more instance for the world to fight back. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Valentine’s Day, 2018 was the final straw. A conversation started online, and on March 24th, 2018, millions rallied to protest gun violence.
Starting a Movement on Social Media
Pick a Cause
Most social media activism begins with an activist that has pain and a deeply-rooted passion for preventing others from feeling the same pain. For example, an activist who creates an anti-bullying campaign has likely experienced bullying personally, or maybe they’ve had someone very close to them that did.
The first place to search for an answer about your passion is within yourself. What have you overcome in life? What’s your story?
Once you decide on the direction of your social movement, educate yourself on the topic. Learn as much as you can by talking about the issue to anyone who will listen. Read non-stop and interview others who’ve experienced the same injustice. Learn from their experiences.
Grow Your Followers
It’s time to create a following of people who feel the same way you do. Establish yourself as an authority on as many social media channels as possible. Share the platform with others who wish to share their story with the same issue. You may also have to determine if you need a petition platform to convince lawmakers to change policies.
Social media activism is crucial to our society because it pursues equality for those who do not always have a voice to speak up for themselves. You have the power to make a difference in the world. Are you ready to step up?
If you have an interest in social media activism, check out #WarGames. It’s an interactive series that follows the lives of hackers as they grow into influential leaders of an international movement.