Social Media Activism – Power of social media in 2020
Table of Contents
Recently, George Floyd was killed by a policeman in the United States of American. He was killed without any proof of his crime. There is no justification for the event that occurred and it was a heinous crime.
The citizens of the world stood for him. The movement Black Lives Matter re-started from here. Some people got out on the streets and protested, whereas some showed their support through social media.
This is just one example. People have stood up for various causes on social media. Causes like climate change, various government action, rising oil prices, discrimination faced by people, etc.
This is social media activism, supporting a cause through a social media platform. Social media is a popular and widely used medium to support a cause.
It is used to spread information about the injustice as well as garner support. It is protesting from your home, through your smartphone.
Protests have taken place various times in history. Protests in the french revolution, the vietnam war and protests by Nelson Mandela. These were all physical protests.
Now a physical protest is not necessary. All it takes is a smartphone and an account on social media platforms to take part.
But there are different views on the same, some people feel social media is a platform to support the cause whereas some feel that social media distracts individuals from the real issue.
Hashtag Activism is a recent type of activism. Various movements have a particular hashtag associated with it.
For example, #MeToo movement, #BlackLivesMatter.
These movements gain momentum with the help of the hashtags they use. People post and use that particular hashtag and it reaches hundreds of people.
There are some notable advantages of social media activism. Some of them are mentioned below
1. Bringing the world closer
Earlier an event taking place in one part of the world would go unnoticed in other parts of the world. The support would be limited.
Now, with social media platforms, you can garner support from people across the world. They won’t be able to protest but support you through social media.
Social media platforms help in spreading information soon and it reaches a wide audience.
It allows you to create a network of people who believe in the same cause. It brings you all closer together.
3. No barrier
There is literally no barrier to take part in an online protest. It is very useful for the differently abled individuals to show their support. It is an open platform.
4. Using technology to solve issues
The technology is upgraded on a daily basis. The softwares are getting updated every day. The option to debate and discuss online is particularly very helpful.
One might be more comfortable discussing an issue online instead of in person.
5. Help in Fundraising
If your cause or the cause you are supporting requires financial support, social media is the best option for you. People do not hesitate to help out through social media. Once you gain their trust, people are ready to donate instantly.
Apart from the various advantages of social media activism, it has some disadvantages too.
1. Often diverted from the cause
The purpose and cause of the protest is often lost. The topic changes completely and becomes a fight or an argument about an unrelated topic.
The hypocrisy lies within the protestors. They meet to protest for climate change and arrive in cabs. This is another way in which the cause and meaning is lost.
Individuals who are a part of the protests are on their phones throughout, trying to take pictures and videos.
What is the point of being a part of a protest and being on your phone all the time?
Are you a part of the protest because you thought it was “cool” or you really care about the issue.
This is a question each one of us should ask ourselves.
2. Spread of fake news
This is a major flaw of social media activism. There is a lot of news being shared on social media platforms, but is it all true? Is that what is really happening?
It is extremely easy to share fake news. People tend to believe it immediately. Some individuals share old videos and images and link it to the ongoing cause.
Further, people react to these shared messages instantly without actually confirming it.
This spreads more hate and violence. Fake news can trigger someone and create a huge issue. It can hurt many people.
3. Limitation on age and education
Social media is used as a platform for protests mainly by youngsters. From the age of 18-49 years.
The ones who are 50 years and above are less likely to voice their opinions on these platforms.
The more educated individuals tend to use social media platforms better than uneducated individuals. They are able to put up valid and appropriate debates and arguments on the current issues.
Social media activism today
In recent years social media activism has increased immensely. People are fighting for justice and a cause through online platforms.
The number of people participating in social media activism is increasing by the day.
In recent years there are various protests taking place. And they are gaining momentum on the online platform too.
These protests are on extremely varied topics. Some recent topics in light are:
Black lives matter
This movement is old and has regained momentum. It has resumed again after the death of George Floyd.
An African-American individual who was killed by a police officer. The hashtag #blacklivesmatter is widely used on social media platforms across the globe.
Various old instances of unfair treatment against the African-American individuals that have been brought up.
The online protest is widespread and it creates a pressure on the justice system. As a result of offline and online protests the police officer who killed and 3 of his colleagues were arrested.
This is an ongoing movement that has been going on for quite some time now. There have been different hashtags used to gain attention and increase reach.
These online and offline protests are done to pressurize the governments to take an action on this in their respective nations. It pressurizes the government to take actions against companies who play a major role in harmful practices.
It has also started to try to alter people’s behaviour towards the environment. Promote a more eco-friendly behaviour among the citizens. Various companies are made to convert to a more eco-friendly behaviour.
Reducing pollution, plastic usage, industrial waste and various other dimensions are the areas of focus in the protests.
Wrapping it up
Social media activism is bound to increase. It is going to continue in helping people protest from home.
More voices are going to be heard. It is an ever uprising movement.
People from across the globe are able to voice their opinions about a particular issue in another country.
Let us know how your experience with social media activism has been in the comments below!
Case studies. Social Media has become a primary organizing tool for political and social movements globally. They serve to strengthen already existing networks of political and social relationships among activists offline.
People appear to be happier and more satisfied with life when they connect up with other individuals, groups, and the larger society, and when they work together to improve society's functioning. ... Activists also appear to have a greater sense of self-esteem than non-activists.
Can activists make money?
And when it comes to income, yes, you can make money as an activist. ... She tell us, “Activists can earn incomes using the speaker's circuit or by providing training/workshops on their specialties. Activists can also work for/with political or issue-based campaigns as paid staff.”