digital activism, and how raising awareness can be just enough.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

As there are critiques with all changes, a huge one of current society is the benefits and cons of the current Digital Age: is it more helpful or hurtful? Some believe it causes more people to be socially inadequate, and care less about conversations happening in front of you, and preferring what’s happening on whatever electronic device of choice. However, the world truly gets smaller and smaller with things such as the Internet, bringing people who used to be so far closer together in many areas. We have more access to our overseas relatives, more awareness about foreign issues- and easier ways to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time.

A great benefit to today’s Digital Age is the ability to have an idea and spread it to everyone who has access to the Internet, making it a central place for starting to take action on specific issues. Digital Activism is exactly that, making it easy to express ideas and inform people on things that could be of serious interest and concern, helping them move towards a positive change to combat it. Facebook and Twitter have been the biggest social platforms for these sorts of things, from raising awareness about 200+ kidnapped schoolgirls by Boko Haram (#BringBackOurGirls), to encouraging women to share their stories of misogyny and harassment by men (#YesAllWomen). Being whatever is mostly talked about or frequently repeated in conversation on these platforms, Facebook and Twitter do post them, making it even more accessible to those who have yet to be informed by it. Of course, however, there are numerous critiques, such as from Reset: “...while activists did successfully mobilize using social media, they did not achieve their campaign goal, be it to overturn an allegedly fraudulent election result or the wide range of social and political reforms demanded by the strike organizers.” Not much was done for #BringBackOurGirls, and the movement was for the most part forgotten. Misogyny will continue in our society until we view women in a more positive light and value them better. What can we do to improve this?

Although a lot of Digital activism is heavily critiqued and frequently under fire, as is the Internet in general, people forget about how much accomplishment there is in awareness instead of just action. Through the Black Lives Matter movement starting in America due to the innocent shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, by George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watchman, many people became more aware of the racial issues in America, and around the world. The movement has also continued to trump social media, especially when there’s police brutality against African Americans, such as Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, and Tamir Rice, 12, in Cleveland, Ohio. Although as not frequently covered by the mainstream media, and if so, with a bias, it stayed prevalent on platforms like Twitter, leaking first hand information from protestors in Ferguson. Incidents like these made these problems more transparent, and more talked about. 

From my personal experience, through social media and these incidents, I have become more aware of the inequalities people of colour in this country have to face, and how beyond unfair, and irrational the reasoning is. Knowing this helps me inform others, and let them know of the problems that still exist very blatantly. Sometimes, raising awareness about issues is all that needs to be done, so when it is able to move towards change, we can. Not all of us can protest or write letters to Congress, since in day to day life many people are caught up in other things. Even though that is admittedly not enough for many, if others feel that passionately, they can take action. However, letting everyone know about the issue, that when change is to come, we can agree and support it to help have something done. That is a great step forward that is under appreciated.

No comments:

Post a Comment