social medias effect on activism Essays

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HCW8 Social Media’s Effect on Activism

Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), microblogging services (e.g. Twitter), and content-sharing sites (e.g. YouTube and Instagram) have introduced the opportunity for wide-scale, online social participation. Social media has been utilized for more than its “keep in touch” purpose and has now granted users the chance to be aware and spread awareness of personal, national and global causes. The role social media has taken in shaping our culture and issues is a significant one. It has aided in the way important information is understood, the rate it travels and the size of the audience. Digital activism has grown exponentially, in large part because of the ease in which activists are able to get a large number of ordinary individuals involved quickly and in large numbers, without the authorities being able to track the recruitment efforts. However, the ease with which one can click “like” to pet causes also has raised questions about the commitment and durability of digital protests compared to traditional face-to-face recruiting efforts. The term “slacktivism” has been used to described this action and some activist believe that this ease has caused less-passionate and less-dedicated individuals. Although this is evident in some activism cases, there are many other cases were social media has brought passionate and committed individuals to be involved. However “slacktivism” has some effect on cases by helping expand the reach of those becoming aware, getting friends involved, raising money and recruiting volunteers. This is done by how an organization will send out a message on social media. The most people the message with notify are those who already follow the account. However, every time someone else retweets, shares, likes or posts their own message about the organization, that person's followers/friends have the opportunity to see it. “The more people sharing, the more potential people can see it and I don't know any organization that would complain about that” as said by former “slacktivist” Tim McDonald from the Huffington Post. “You can say I've moved beyond “slacktivism” and more into activism, but without getting involved originally as a “slacktivist”, I never would've take the first step to becoming more of an activist”. As a result, social medias part in activism has created “slacktivism” which in turn has benefited activism. Information supplied by social networking websites has played an important role during modern-day activism. In some countries, many activists play crucial roles using social networking as a key tool in expressing their thoughts concerning unjust acts committed by the government. Being capable of sharing an immense amount of uncensored and accurate information throughout social networking sites has contributed to the causes of many activists. Through social networking sites, activists have gained the power to help civilians become aware of the underground communities that exist and that are made up of people willing to listen to their stories. Countries like Egypt, with rising action plans like protests made up of thousands, have been organized through social media such Facebook and Twitter. “We use Facebook to schedule the protests” an activist from Egypt announced “and [we use] Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.” Technology has taken a role in allowing the distribution of public information which is essential in establishing the democratic movement that has helped guide abused civilians to be heard of their oppression. In addition, social networks aided in breaking the psychological barrier of fear by assisting many to connect and share information. Along with giving people the knowledge that there are others experiencing the same brutality, hardships, and lack of justice. Social networks "for the first time provided activists with an opportunity to quickly disseminate information while bypassing government…