Recently someone raised a question, if activism on Facebook, Twitter and social media is just ‘feel good’ activism that people undertake in the comforts of their home or can it make a difference as what people from yesteryears did marching on the streets. Being a person who often change FB cover photos and post opinions as protest on social media I have always asked that same question to myself. And here are some personal thoughts…
- The modes of activism or protest changes over time; new technology available, new thought processes and changing perspectives of people all add to it. Social media and Internet activism is just another way for people to raise their opinions, start discussions and spread awareness.
- Protests in my opinion is done to reach more people, that is why people always protest in crowded places and not in secluded houses or backyards. Internet and Social media are places where people move around like they do on the streets… I don’t say everyone but a sizable chunk… so people(many people) can hear when voice is raised on Social Media
- Yes it depends on your following and that is why some people matter more than others, that happens on the streets also…. but the concept of #hashtag and engaging in comments, shares and likes help people participate like never before. So even if your following is less, if you want you can connect and impact through groups and conversations.
- Yes it is true that liking and sharing a news or protest makes some people think they have done their part and feel happy about it. But if it is done by people who would nevr responded to an issue otherwise, then I think Social Media activism has served it’s purpose.
- Will things change if you do social media activism; people might have different opinion here but for me I think it does make a difference… definitely more than what happens in debated weekend discussions over a drink and feast that normally does happen and serves absolutely not much impact…
- It might also be true that many people do not protest because the mode of protest was not that easy before, but it does not mean people did not care about it…. So people cared but never protested… why? Did social Media activism give an answer there…. I think yes Social media gave more people a voice…
- Take the case of donations for a cause; Isn’t that too a way people support a cause without getting their hands really dirty, without spending their precious time getting out on the streets. At least that is the easiest protest for those who can afford…. they are probably buying their ‘support sweat’ in money… lavish dinners and banquets to raise funds… people might have difference of opinion here as well.
- I honestly do not think social media protest alone will resolve issues and it is true there are many times when social media can spread the wrong approach, do character assassination and jump into conclusions without being well informed
- Social Media is not the source of truth for anything and if someone relies on it then it is bad; but social media can make us hear voices, opinions, thoughts and perspectives that otherwise we could not have. It tells us that to participate and contribute to a thinking you do not have to be a leader.
- Comparing Social Media activists to activists in yesteryears might not be very correct because the world has changed from what it was back then. I personally believe that social media response and protest adds value to the real movements that you support and aids the changes that you wish to bring forth in the world
- Blogs, podcasts, videos, images, quotes, poems, stories all from before unseen common people have started pouring in on the social media, all bringing forth a perspective of the world we live and issues in hand.
- When you know that many good people who never spoke before, never raised a voice about things they cared are also now able to do that (even if it is in the comfort of their homes), I think it really matters.
These are my personal thoughts but since I think there are more than one way to do the right thing, people can differ with me and I will as always take it in its true spirit. And I thank my friend for asking that question and allowing me to put down my thoughts