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Social Media as a Form of Activism Today

Introduction

Change is a condition that must be adopted with time since moments, generations, and processes get altered. A change can be positive or negative depending on the person or group in charge of change institutionalization. One way society can bring change is by activism, which means actions to sensitize the public on demanding the denied rights in human interaction (Muzaffar 144). In the 1950s, people in the US used boycotts to demand their rights, whereby they wanted the end of segregation based on racial affiliation. For this matter, people such as Martin Luther King Junior enlightened the African Americans to demonstrate against the then government on racism problems.

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Today, life has changed due to innovation and globalization, which has resulted in advanced technology. Social media is an effective way people can use to express their interests, and it is a form of activism against evils done in society (Tsatsou 21). Facebook and Twitter are the common platforms where people force changes through hashtags which are a trend with the subjects in need to get changed. Other platforms of social media include WhatsApp, YouTube, Telegram, Instagram, among others. This paper argues that social media is an effective tool to inspire change, and it has the power to push for new and desired ways of living.

Effectiveness of Social Media in Bringing Changes in Society

Like the activism that was before the development of social media, there is a similar power to change matters when people engage the digital tool. Power in the social media subject is realized through the extent to which individuals can access online information (Hawkins 64). Many people today can afford technology-centric gadgets that have programmed applications that support social media engagement. When people start discussing an issue online, they will gather all the evil against it by providing historical background of the matter and its adverse effects on the affected people. Through tools such as Facebook, users share links that have messages of activism by showcasing the immediate course of action and the demanded changes (Hitchcock 26). For this matter, social media comes to enlighten people in all corners of the world about something that has happened and needs to be rectified not to have negative impacts in the future.

Some of the issues that social media have been fighting against are extrajudicial killings by the police, political assassinations, economic disparity, gender equalization, equality, and fairness in employment matters, among other things. Although social media may not reach the target people physically, the psychological torture that is evident makes the responsible persons regulate the change as per the society’s desires (Muzaffar 142). Therefore, social media is an effective tool since it enables the massive environment to be aware of an issue, and it directs the matter to the personnel behind transformations.

The formation of hashtags has been an efficient way to enable the online group to spot an issue being condemned. If 1950s social media had been there, the likes of Martin Luther King Junior would have utilized it to demand equality in gender and racial affiliation (Tsatsou 29). For instance, the racial approach in the US is still an issue that needs to be addressed further, even after many years of the end of slavery in the country.

In 2020, there were rafts of reactions against racist Minneapolis policemen whose actions led to the murder of George Floyd. Through Twitter and Facebook, users formed hashtags ‘I can’t breathe”, a statement that Floyd was heard saying when a security officer had kneeled on his neck (McGreal et al. 1). Social media came with massive condemnation of the incident by showing that African Americans such as Floyd should be treated equally with the whites in the country. Due to social media, the matter was addressed immediately by having Derek Chauvin and the colleagues fired from the police force (McGreal et al. 2). In 2021 April, Chauvin was found guilty of manslaughter in a trial that seemed to have served justice to the family of Floyd. The verdict was phenomenal in the efforts towards solving many other social injustices apart from racism.

Social media has the same push as earlier time’s activism in bringing change. The reason is that people have been used to spending most of their time in online applications that have wide coverage of prevailing matters in the world (Hawkins 64). Unlike the physical boycotts in the 1950s, when people would physically present themselves to the authorities, calling for agreements within the parties, social media activism occurs when people are in different parts of the world. Typical broadcasting has reinforced the power of social media in their news anchoring. It is probable to find an incident that was raised by social media being reported in news segments on mainstream media (Hitchcock 26). Therefore, the digital tool has formed a collaborative base with many forms of communication to express grievances on issues that affect many people.

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The effectiveness of social media to bring change may be seen during online polls when voting against or in favor of an agenda raised in the community. Due to artificial intelligence, innovators have developed an interface that can capture the views of individuals on a given matter (Tsatsou 34). The digital forms have statistical figures showing how many people supported or declined the recommendations and how many did not participate in the initiative. Through the majority, any matter presented would be voted and results shown to the public, which triggers transformed decisions by the policymakers. For instance, when the UK wanted to exit the European Union (EU), online polls suggested that most of the citizens did agree on the matter. The opinions led to Congress passing the motion as they wanted to represent the majority voices on Brexit, which was successfully achieved in January 2020 (Hitchcock 26). Social media played a key role in leveraging economic issues in the UK, and the government intervened on behalf of its citizens as far as the EU was concerned.

The use of social media in activism enables those who are often excluded in sensitive matters to engage in public and social debate. It is effective since every person can air their views on a given concern without any physical harm (Hitchcock 24). Unlike social media, demonstrations tend to have adverse effects where participants may be injured during the activity or losing the lives. Social media is an equalizer as a person without professional access to policymakers, and other key leaders would get to draw the latter within seconds, just by using social media. Therefore, social media is fast in bringing change since responsible change-makers have access to the internet.

In recent months, social media has been used widely as a tool for activism on the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is easy to spread awareness and educate followers on every platform by sharing petitions on the pandemic. Through the powerful tool, the public is sensitized to how it can prevent infection of the virus simply by practicing individual protection measures. Social media uses images, footages, and podcasts to emphasize more about a given matter (Tsatsou 33). For instance, the current situation of India from the COVID-19 pandemic is a worrying trend of the virus. Deceased persons are being cremated due to massive deaths resulting from the virus. Through social media, individuals are getting the hashtag ‘pray for India’ as one way to show thoughtful prayers and consolation to the country. Through social media, many people are aware of the impact, and therefore, lifestyle changes have been witnessed.

Conclusion

From the arguments presented in this paper, it is significantly important to say that social media has been a key tool to change the world. The message is effective since many individuals have access to the internet and digital devices. Social media passes a message through shared files such as images, audio, and clips to sensitize important concerns. Additionally, there are formations of hashtags made to emphasize a given plan that needs to be changed.

One example of how social media has successfully reached the intended targets was in the case of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis policemen. The case was heard in court, where the accused person was found guilty of murder. Through social media, everyone can participate and give their views on particular concerns. With the rising degrees of technology, social media will continue to enlighten the public on matters that need to be addressed effectively.

Works Cited

Hawkins, Malcolm. “Collective Movements, Digital Activism, And Protest Events: The Effectiveness of Social Media Concerning the Organization of Large-Scale Political Participation.” Geopolitics, History, And International Relations, vol. 10, no. 2, 2018, p. 64. Addleton Academic Publishers, Web.

Hitchcock, Jennifer. “Social Media Rhetoric of The Transnational Palestinian-Led Boycott, Divestment, And Sanctions Movement.” Social Media + Society, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 20-28. SAGE Publications, Web.

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McGreal, Chris, et al. “Derek Chauvin Found Guilty of Murder of George Floyd.” The Guardian, 2021, Web.

Muzaffar, Muhammad. “Social Media and Political Awareness in Pakistan: A Case Study of Youth.” Pakistan Social Sciences Review, vol. 3, no. II, 2019, pp. 141-153. Fatima Gohar Educational and Welfare Society, Web.

Tsatsou, Panayiota. “Social Media and Informal Organization of Citizen Activism: Lessons from The Use of Facebook in the Sunflower Movement.” Social Media + Society, vol. 4, no. 1, 2018, pp. 20-38. SAGE Publications, Web.

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