The use of social media as a means of communication has gained a lot of popularity over the last decade. Today, it is quite easy to access the internet from any part of the world and share information on various online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Due to the big number of subscribed users, social media has become a good avenue for activism to raise and mobilize people on various issues affecting the contemporary world. A look at social media activism shows an increase in its popularity and this method of taking action is proving to be more effective every day.
With the increase in cases of social injustice in society today, there is the need to come up with ways of creating awareness to the public. Incidents of violence, racism, and tribal clashes are experienced across the globe almost daily. It is in such situations that social media activism takes shape in a bid to engage both the public and perpetrators of such social evils (Meikle, 2014). By starting such online debates, social media users access such information and participate in the talks by airing their views. Additionally, the invention of hashtag metadata has made it even easier to follow such conversations by typing in the keywords of the topic being discussed.
Notably, Twitter is seen to be the leading social media platform where activism is most effective. Due to its easy use and advanced features, lobbyists spark crucial debates and attract the attention of thousands of users. As the conversation gains momentum, more users join by commenting, retweeting or liking the tweet making it more popular. It is also possible to seek the attention of specific individuals by tagging them in a post. Tagging is done by using the “@” symbol and typing the username of the person one intends to invite in the talk (Velasquez & LaRose, 2015). Immediately, the invited user is notified and sent a link to click to follow the conversation.
Over time, social media activism has been proved to be practical in various parts of the world. For instance, in 2013, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was used by activists to attract the attention of both the lawmakers among other top government officials in the United States (Carroll & Hackett, 2016). This happened after an increase in cases of systemic racism, violence, and police brutality against the African-American community. Though this phrase was later used to form an activist movement, it all started on social media before being adopted in the contemporary world. A recent study conducted in the United States shows that 69% of the population believes that social media is vital in the fight against social evils while 67% think that coming up with sustained movements for social change works best using the internet (Meikle, 2014).
As discussed above, the use of social media by activists has gained popularity today than ever before. With the advancement in technology and access to the internet, it has become easy to reach a big pool of people through the use of social media. By initiating hashtags to spark online discussions, lobbyists can now spread their messages to the rest of the world and also call for the attention of various stakeholders involved. Moreover, tagging an individual user is another tactic that has proved to work best especially when a course of action is intended to get to particular individuals. Even though not every user will take part in such social media discussions, the majority of internet subscribers will have the opportunity to read and follow such posts.
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