By HALO KWOK
The rise of technology brings about the rise of social media activism.
Given the advanced developmental stages of this day and age, there has been a prevalent surge in public advocacy through social media. Instead of taking opinions and perspectives to the columns of the local newspapers, more and more people have been taking it to sites like Instagram and Twitter.
In essence, by letting voices flow through the algorithm of social media sites, more coverage can be drawn onto topics of high importance, more job opportunities can be created and more people can voice their concerns.
According to The American Chemical Society (ACS), there are three basic skill sets that a “social activist” can fit into. These include the “Interpersonal,” “Analytical” and “Background Knowledge” categories.
A form of social media activism, known as “Background Knowledge,” is even included as a field in the job as a social activist which demonstrates the importance of online advocacy. Through the detailed description provided by the ACS, some things that social activists in the “Background Knowledge” field can do include “statistical research and analysis, desktop publishing, online survey software, e-newsletter content and mailing list management, and social media management” (ACS). Essentially, these inclusive work opportunities regarding the use of social networking sites to spread views and values allows people to both possess a job and a voice in society.
Not only are the benefits of social activism apparent to social activists, but they are also apparent to the American people. With over half of survey-takers from the Pew Research Center claiming that social activism impacted their lives for the better, it is only natural that one can assume how effective it is. Most Americans claimed that it finally helped get “politicians to pay attention to issues,” meaning that more people, especially people in power, were allowed to acknowledge the present issues at hand.
Also, the research concluded that “roughly half of black social media users say these platforms are at least somewhat personally important to them as a venue for expressing their political views or for getting involved with issues that are important to them” (Pew Research Center). Social media advocacy is great way for people of color to stand up for themselves, especially regarding the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement as it is composed of people that are fighting for social justice and systemic equality. The feats achieved by a united group of people through a combination of online and in-person protests include the ban of the “no-knock” warrants in Louisiana, the replacement of the police system in Minneapolis and the removal of Confederate statues in all parts of the country. This country underwent a series of reforms due to a lot that was said through social media activism.
For some, the process of relinquishing their thoughts on social media sites allows them to get involved with important issues, giving them a voice to state their beliefs. Once again, the importances of social media activism is underlined, since the online world is a place where anyone can assert their opinions and let their voices be heard on current controversies or problems.
All in all, asserting your voice through the comfort of your device can bring about a change in the community. By simply stating your stance on social media, you can become an ally for those that need it and help inspire a change in the world.