Would you call yourself an activist? If you asked me that question, I think I would say I’m dipping my toe in the water, discovering my passions and getting more vocal about them – especially online.
This is what I want to talk about today – online activism. Some people have a bit of a problem with it, believing it can’t create real change and that some people post about campaigns to look like they’re ‘good people’ rather than because they actually believe in it (this is apparently called ‘virtue signalling’).
And while I’m not on board with those who don a feminist T-shirt to simply follow a trend rather than make a statement…
I believe online activism and the rise of young people getting involved with activism can only be a good thing.
For starters, if it wasn’t for people using the Internet to spread campaigns and messages, I don’t think I would have seen half of the inspiring campaigns as I have. Being able to witness speeches and marches from around the world is eye opening.
Secondly, it’s a great place for people like me to start. I have always had pretty strong beliefs about certain subjects, but with Trump’s rise to power and the Brexit debate rumbling in the background, these beliefs have been solidified, galvanised and echoed by my peers.
Suddenly, staying quiet doesn’t seem like an option.
When there are people shouting opposing views and making, frankly terrifying decisions about our future, those beliefs that sat dormant rise to the surface, boiling over in a sea of rant-y blogs, tweets and petition signings.
I have seen several protests and marches I wanted to go along to recently, but I haven’t taken that step yet. I’m not a huge fan of crowds, loud noises, general commotion and while I know this is all part of the atmosphere – is it so wrong to want to stay home and support online? I don’t think so.
For some people, using the Internet is the only way they feel able to support a cause and surely that’s worth something. I know I DO want to do more, join protests and marches and I know that’s where this journey is taking me. I’m seeing so many incredible people taking a stand and campaigning for change, inspiring a whole new generation of changemakers and yeah – I want to be part of that.
Right now though, I feel like I’m stretching my muscles in the online space – and that’s OK too. If you want to join me, here are some ways to join the online activism movement:
Through your blog / vlog
Remember, a huge part of activism is spreading a message, so if you have a captive audience through a blog or vlog, use it as a platform to spread your message. Talk about your passions, share resources with your followers and speak up.
Through social media
This is where most online activism takes place. A simple hashtag can carry a huge amount of power. Twitter is where I see the most campaigning and it really provides the perfect place to share your passions. RT causes you care about, explain your views, be brave. There’ll always be people who disagree, but if you’re passionate enough about something, keep going.
This is an easy way to show a campaign support and where change feels really tangible. Change.org is a great place to start and make sure you share the petition after to get more signatures and results!
People / movements / articles to inspire you
Illustration by co-founder of The Pink Protest, Alice Skinner
So yes, some people may scoff at online activists but to me, it feels like the spark of something. These are small actions in a digital world that are lighting a fuse in the real world. And this fuse will eventually blow up, leaving everyone in awe.
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