Media Activism

Media activism is a group of people who utilize communication technologies and media for political and social movements. I realize that each country and people have their customs and culture that they practice. This at times brings in ethnocentrism, where one identifies himself with his ethnicity and judges others who do not share in the same belief. I have learned that social media and technology have been part of ethnographic practices. With a wide spread of technology and increase in the smartphone, ownership has increased the number of people accessing and interacting social media. I am a member of social media platforms such as instagram, linked-In, Facebook and Twitter among others. I have interacted with people from different backgrounds. The social media platforms have been used to share experiences, knowledge skills and socializing with one another through art, literature, and music.Having been part of the online users, it makes it easy to understand how people interact, learn and do business on social media. Collecting information is easier because there is one on one online interview and interaction which reflects the change in times and embrace of technology that mitigates the challenges of time and place of communication. The paper will look at media activism and social movements’ engagement on social media in a bid to change the perspectives of society.In most cases, the media activists publish news on websites, create audio and video investigations, and organize campaigns regarding communication policies.

I have learned that cultural relativism highlights the morality, beliefs, customs of a particular culture from which they originate. The society sets its values and goals which characterizes the community as a whole and separate institution. It is essential to train a sense of cultural relativism in society for one to be self-absorbed. I have observed that society sometimes uses their cultural norms to judge other cultures. Research indicates that the American Society has a very high sense of ethnocentrism. The people and the world believe and term America as a superpower because of its abilities and power. The Americans believe that they can do everything better than any other; dance, sing, make filmsand carry wars. I observed that America is technologically empowered with most of the residents having smartphones and laptops that enable one to access the internet and interact online.

I observed that social movements are the matrix of media that context dominant power. Media activism depicts collective communication, which challenge the status quo of society. I learned that most of these social movements are short-lived s they are underfunded and are established mostly during social turbulence or crisis moment. The social movement on social media only drive the message home, but it takes time to attain the desired results and change.The civil rights movement and awareness on climate change have benefited fromthe social media activism are of concernto the majority of the society. I observedthe community is concerned about their rights and also enhancing awareness on the fundamental rights to humanity. From this perspective understood that social activism role is to educate, targetglobal crisis, agitate for change and voiceconcerns.

In my interaction with social activism, I learned that social media activism targets the concerned parties such as the climate change group targets the significant manufacturers with poor environmental records as well as the government with the aim of curbing climate change. The group has used online campaignsto oppose oil, new coal and gas projects. The group agitates for a cleaner and sustainable environment and ecosystem. I alsolearned that the views of the marginalized groups are captured easily and in real time through the online forums more than the one on one interactions.

The social media activismaddresses groups’ and people across and beyond boundaries who have a common interest in the drive. The leaders of these initiatives have suffered threats and even arrested in some of the authoritarian countries. Some of the data I collected from YouTube cases on online activism. From these channels, I learned that activism on social media leads to collective actions and amplify thecondition for movement to be formed.

The origin of social activism is the cry of the people as they are affected by the issues that these activists push for relief. Example the effects of climate change in the society makes an activist champion for mitigation measures and laws to be put in place to curb the causes of climate change. The civil rights movements advocate for equality and equity and fight against violation of the fundamental rights entitled to every being. In America, the segregation and discrimination against the blacks led to many civil rights movements which have gained milestones in making aware the entire world embrace oneness and shunned from racial segregation. This is evident because in many decades American society voted in a black President, Barack Obama and also many blacks have held high offices because of the embracing of the human rights and accepting other people as they are.

I observed that media activists mostly engage on social media platform and attend one on one meetings especially duringconferences once in a while because the social media is a communication channel that brings people together across all divides regardless of the time and place. It has made it easy to respond to the upcoming issues in real time since one can cope up with mitigation measures at the right moment.

I learned that in every movement or gathering there must be a leader who offers direction of the campaign and champions the way forward. This helps the group to stay focused on the goals and aims of the initiative. The social media activism equally has its leaders that address the issues and lead the people in the campaigns. At times they seek the assistance of professional input such as lawyers, and project managers who advise on the status.

One of my case studies is the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in 2011. I observed that social media contributed so much to the initiative,which began at the Liberty square at Manhattans financial district. The movement’s main agenda was to advocate against economic inequality. I have learned that the police control the protests on the street however it is a bit difficult for the same police to control the demonstrations championed on online platforms as long as they conform to the media and communication rules. The Wall Street Movement thinned from the streets but had created an impact which resulted in different causes. One of the causes is the increase in the minimum wage. The movementresolved to use social media handles to create awareness of their intentions and aims of improving the economy of the majorityand the country at large.The online forums brought together more people who shared in the cause, and as the rallying grew, it gained the attention of the mainstream mediawhich created a bigger platform for the change they were fighting for.

A second case study was on black lives matter initiative, which was a campaign against the systemic racism and violence against African Americans. I have learned that social media activism has played an essential role in achieving a milestone in this noble cause. The online users created hashtags and policy proposals to champion and brought forth their ideas. The black lives matter hashtag was created after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The movement brought together the African-Americans together who shared in the same frustrations. The movement aimed at bringing unity to society and minimize on racial segregation.

I have learned that in this journey of media activism, the elites fight back because they want to dominate the minority and afflicted group. The example in the case of green initiatives and fight against the climate change, the industry owners who have a poor environmental policy will oppose the initiative to avoid the cost that comes with ensuring the environment is pollutant free. The elites swing into action and put up countermeasures as well as intimidate the drivers of the movement in a bid to demoralize them.  I learn that some elitesincrease their surveillance to trace the activists and authorities block to filter the content and block access to certain websites to prevent the spread of information to the broader community. These challenges the cause and require people who are persistent and committed to pushing on with such initiatives.

Moreover, I was meant to understand that online activists must be informed of the fact that the dynamics of reaching a collective action does not necessarily be a result of critical thinking and other dimensions of civic engagement. The activists understand that more thought should be put into the consequences of sharing information so that it does not elicit contrary emotions to what was expected. Some of the results of sharing information are long lasting with some leading to casualties and violence.

I learned that online activism has grown and gradually replaced the street activism. Social media activism helped some of the group that has not been legalized such as LGBT individuals. The LGBT have had difficulty in street protests because of the stereotypes and victimization as well as harassment from law enforcing agencies. Most of these kinds of groups have used the online platforms to address and link up with like-minded people to champion for their rights and speak out for others. Gradually they have penetrated themainstream media with even some countries legalizing has been more effective using the online platformsbecause it reaches him modern audiences. I learned that the limitations faced by online interactions is government censorship,computer literacy, and internet access. However, in America, the internet access is high, as well as computer literacy.

1st interview

Which online activism have you actively participated?

I have actively participated in black lives matter movement.

 How many members did you reach out in your engagement?

The online platforms gathered many members across social and political divides who supported the equality initiative and fought against segregation

Why did you want to join the group?

I joined the group because I was fed up with the manner the African-Americans were treated in society. I wanted to speak out for others who felt overwhelmed by the situation.

What has been the activism journey been like?

It requires persistence because there is a lot of resistance to change

2nd Interview

Which online activism have you actively participated?

I have actively participated in the green initiative movement

 How many members did you reach out in your engagement?

Am glad the green initiative has been embraced globally since it is highlighted and discussed in the mainstream media. The online platforms are active because the members are affected by climate change and are aware that they must address the issues concerned for a sustainable environment

Why did you want to join the group?

I joined the group because I wanted to bring the desired change in the environment to the benefit of the future generation.

What has been the activism journey been like?

It has received support from the various stakeholders. There has been some resistance from the industries who have not put in place environmental policies. The support from the government through the enactment of laws that enhance green initiative has made the activism journey worthwhile. However, one has to be bold and aggressive to achieve any desired results.


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