This week, our class was looking at online social activism. I find this topic very intriguing, and I see it everywhere online.
First of all, can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? My immediate, gut reaction to this question is; of course! With the correct platform and motivation, social activism can experience great success online. Platforms are much easier to create, follow and promote online. These platforms are also very accessible to a very wide audience. I feel like it is fairly easy to generate a mass amount of followers these days. Things on the internet blow up pretty quickly, especially if the content is shocking, funny or a very large group of people feel strongly about something.
I follow an account called Sevenly on Instagram and I think their platform is very unique! They are a clothing brand (for lack of a better word) and they promote and advocate many different social issues through their clothing. They also donate a certain amount of money from each article of clothing to a different cause each week. (Have any of you heard of it?) I would encourage you to go to their website and explore a little bit. In a nutshell, each week Sevenly has a different cause that they are supporting. For example, this week they are raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease. They are “helping provide self-care resources through the Davis Phinney Foundation. Their Instagram bio is “Outfitter for world-changers. Raising funding, awareness and followers for great causes through advocacy apparel and accessories.”
On the other hand, online social activism needs to be intentional. As we have seen in the past, people on the internet tend to take things way out of proportion and leave meaning and reasoning behind. For example, the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. This challenge took the internet by storm and millions of people were dumping ice cold water over their heads. However, I would say that plenty of these people had no idea WHY they were taking part in the challenge. The meaning and purpose were lost and the effectiveness of this campaign was potentially lost.
I think it is very possible to have productive conversations bout social justice online as well. In order to have a productive conversation online, a certain level of maturity needs to exist as well as a degree of professionalism. It is very easy to sit behind a screen and write whatever you wish, this is where maturity is involved. A mature individual will take the opportunity to raise awareness, raise support and allow others to voice their opinions. the professionalism is involved in the whole interaction. Online posts and comments are impossible to take back once posted so knowing that once something is shared, it is online for good will encourage a degree of professionalism for the author of the post.
What are some interesting social activism sites or campaigns that you have seen circulating online? What are your thoughts on online social activism?
Until next time,