Social Media Activism: is it helpful or harmful?
I have seen mixed feelings about whether social media activism or “clicktivism” (also known as “slacktivism) is effective. One thing for sure, social media has become a highly utilized tool to spread information.
As we saw from the 2016 presidential election, social media has been used as a tool to rapidly spread misinformation or “fake news”. This type of information is often inflammatory and instilling fear and/or outrage in the viewer.
Others have denounced social media as a legitimate form of activism, calling it too passive and a lazy way of actually engaging with the issues.
On the flip side, social media has been a powerful fundraising, conscious raising, and mobilizing tool. Movements gain traction much faster through social media.
Regardless of feelings, social media activism is here to stay. Here’s how you can more responsibly and effectively with social media activism.
Know Your Sources
As they say, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. Make sure the article or call-to-action is coming from a reputable source. Where are they getting their data? Is this from a biased source?
Something else to keep in mind is to make sure you are getting varied opinions, especially if it is an issue you are not well-versed in. Even liberal spaces can share misinformation.
Seek to educate, not change minds
You can’t change someone’s mind or beliefs through one or a series of posts. Share information with the intent to educate on a topic. Use factual evidence and share information from credible sources.
Of course, people still find a way to argue with logic. This isn’t to say take all emotion out of educational posts. Our emotions are a part of our decision making. Humor is great,and people are more open to that than hostility.
Start on social media, then take it offline
Cash me outside, how bout dat? Use the things you see to spark your further education through reading books or talking directly to people affected. Learn and share tangible ways you can make a difference offline.
Social media has been great to teach people how to register to vote, where to meet for a demonstration (and how to stay safe), and places to donate your time or supplies. Social media is a great starting point.
Read more here:
- This article on Everyday Feminist
- From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation by Keeange-Yamahtta Taylor
- Watch this YouTube video
Social media activism is more than temporarily changing your profile picture or posting a black screen to your feed. Awareness building is just the first step.