During this time of continuous social unrest, social media is one of the leading tools in raising awareness across nations. Our feeds are a constant reminder of the triumphs and failures of human nature. There’s always a new daily hashtag that serves as a common thread for people to discuss their views or vent their frustrations on issues that directly impact our everyday lives. But when in times of organizing our efforts to rally against the powers to be, how impactful is the tool of social media activism?
Honestly, I tend to constantly wrestle with this concept. The factors that I believe are pros are how social media is an easy tool for people to donate to various non-profit organizations or charities, and even heighten turnouts for public marches and rallies. Personally, I find that social media effectively transcends empathy by raising awareness and unity amongst people that may experience similar social injustices but live in different countries when it comes to issues such as: gender inequality, human trafficking, classism, racism, and more.
But even with the heightened awareness social media provides, many issues can easily fall on deaf ears. Once we all turn off our electronic devices, one never knows if the message stops there. With social media, it’s so easy to monitor every aspect of your movement; it easily allows the powers to be to keep tabs and still maintain control. I believe that technology tends to stifle the element of spontaneity in social activism. Can you imagine if the communication pipeline for the Underground Railroad was via social media? Man, it would’ve ended before it ever got started. I don’t want to go too deep down the conspiracy theory path, but I do believe that social media is more of a friend than a foe of “Big Brother”. I often feel that providing too much accessible insight into a cause can strengthen the tactics of the opposing faction. How can a people successfully conquer an empire when the King can monitor their every move?
I still believe that the traditional methods of social activism still stand strong in our present social climate. I admire the courage and resilience of people who participate and rally in public in support of any social injustice that affects the masses of a society. Whether its labor union rights, urban housing rent hikes, police brutality – public rallies don’t have an off switch button. As long as it stays peaceful, it will eventually cause agitation on the opposing side, and that is the true essence of social activism. We have to be careful in how technology can often chip away in how humans relate to each other. Seeing a sea of people come together for a cause reminds us that we can hear each other’s hearts and we must maintain this necessary factor of human nature.
Join in on the discussion and share your thoughts on whether social media hinders or evolves social activism.