Social media ignites social justice movements
Social media changes the way we live life. People can plan events with friends or international protests. As recorded this year, 81 percent of Americans have some kind of social media profile. A large part of starting a movement is getting people to join you and if you have 81 percent of America at your fingertips, who can stop you? If it weren't for social media, many modern movements would not have been able to happen.
A good example of this is the Black Lives Matter movement. This influential and widespread push for justice was originally started by a single Facebook post. The post ended with a statement that would bring to life a movement that has already made so much progress. According to a story published by The Washington Post, her post "ended with an idea: It was time to organize and ensure that black lives matter." One of her friends, Patrisse Cullors, saw the post and liked her statement. She made it into a hashtag, which would later be trending as the number one hashtag on the social media site Twitter. From that hashtag came protests and much support, which would bring further change to the still oppressed African-Americans.
The Occupy Movement also had great help from social media. It was a rise up of the 99 percent against the 1 percent, a campaign against the often oppressive Wall Street. The call to action of this movement was spread throughout the country through social media and the internet. Occupy began in Manhattan, one of the largest boroughs of the central economic powerhouse New York City. NYC is where Wall Street began and thrives, so naturally the movement began there. As reported by CBS News, "On July 13, 2011, the magazine Adbusters posted a call to occupy Wall Street on their blog." Adbusters stated that "we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months." Thus began a controversial and effective protest. Once Occupy Wall Street was in full swing in NYC, Facebook pages popped up in almost every major city in the United States. These Facebook pages were organizing a similar thing for these cities. These protests were raging for almost an entire year before they started to die down, as stated by The Huffington Post. The movement gained recognition
partially thanks to social media sites.
The Women's March was another example that was almost organized entirely by social media. After our current president Donald Trump was elected, women and other minority groups felt threatened by his racist and misogynistic tendencies. Following that were several different marches for different groups, the largest of which was the Women's March, which was effective at getting its message across because it was so large. According to an article on the subject written by WIRED, "Facebook became the place where people nationwide could volunteer and advertise sister marches in hundreds of cities around the world." Many advisers of the march have gone on record saying that much of their success is attributed to the use of social media platforms.
Ultimately, social media platforms have allowed for a new age of protests. In most cases, social media has been a good thing for social justice in general. It allows people to spread their message about the matter, without the censorship that may come with it in other places. Anyone can speak freely and stand up for what is right. I'm not sure the advances in equality for all in the 21st century would have happened without social media and the internet.
Tate Ericson is a junior
at Wilsonville High School.