Social media impact on social movements is significant because it’s the main outlet of technology available.
Social movements operate by using the technology available to them at that time. This means they tailor their strategies and messages to the media of their time so their campaign can take shape.
Although sometimes seen as superficial and narcissistic, social media is currently one of the main outlets available. While it has this conflicted reputation, it is now apparent that social media platforms are revolutionary tools for change.
One example is the impact it has had on the Black Lives Matter Movement. It has progressed and expanded immensely due to the use of social media.
Origin and Purpose of the #Hashtag
Twitter developed hashtags to encourage conversations around specific topics. By hyperlinking these ideas and compiling hashtags in 2009, they were more discoverable and identifiable for the Twitter audience.
Although seen as an informal method of highlighting concepts, some organisations utilise them to promote a powerful message. Using hashtags can make this message heard and encourage education on the topic, leading to increased traction.
History of the #BlackLivesMatter Hashtag
The Black Lives Matter movement has a specific purpose: to eliminate systematic injustices and racial inequalities against the black community. Activists turned to social media as a platform where they could call for change.
In 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Marting which is when the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was first used. Since then, it’s been used millions of times following other instances, like the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
The hashtag is still used today to spread awareness of modern racial injustices that aren’t being dealt with. #BlackLivesMatter continually gain traction across all social media platforms because it is symbolic of the movement’s message.
Social Media Impact on Social Movements
A hashtag may not seem significant to some, but it all starts with a conversation. Social media is a powerful hub that is positively impacting our lives and social movements. Here’s how:
Motivate, Educate and Collaborate
Specific social movement discussions are shared amongst millions in the social media world. It brings people together to learn about important topics and encourages them to make a change.
Think about the number of followers and friends you have on these platforms. That’s how many conversations you can start and how many people you can make aware of campaigns and key information.
One post, one story, one link can impact a number of minds which consequently causes a chain reaction. Social media is also an advertisement for rallies and protests around the world, sharing information about where they are going to be held and inviting everybody.
Social media also shares petitions and fundraisers. This is important because they can all make a massive difference funding social movements. Social media allows everyone to fight for the same goal and come together to have a huge impact.
Access to Real-Time Information
In addition to social media being a source of protest advertisements and petitions, it’s also a resource for information. Information you were not taught in school and information that isn’t shown on the news can be found on social media.
Especially during this time when people are engaging in more screentime than ever, social media has become a hub of useful data. Whether this be historical facts, help and advice regarding protest behaviour or recent useful statistics, you can learn it all.
Also, it is a platform where real-life people can share real-life experiences they have had. Socially shared real-life scenarios can help you understand the reasons behind social movements.
Most companies and businesses have their own social media profiles nowadays. This means that they can not only share their voice and opinions, but people can get in touch with them regarding their stance on social movements.
Politicians and leaders are also present on social media which means that can be contacted directly also. This gives the people more motive to try and make a change because they have the power and opportunities to.
If you can see the movement across your social media, so can others and it shouldn’t be ignored. It’s hard to ignore especially if you’re a powerful figure who’s capable of making change happen. This is the power of social media and the impact it can have.
Social Media is Continually Impactful
The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t the only social movement that has trended on social media and had an impact on today’s society. The #MeToo movement has had a significant effect throughout many industries, highlighting the commonness of sexual harassment in society. Plus, the #LoveWins movement which made same sex marriage legal across all states.
This proves that social media is a powerful tool that can help implement social change.
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