Social activism has become increasingly popular within teenagers and college students over the past few years. Marching through cities, protesting, and having hard conversations at the dinner table. These make up the commonly recognized faces of traditional activism. However, as teenagers and college students become more invested in activism, social media has come into play more and more. People of all backgrounds are coming together on Twitter, Facebook, and even Tik Tok to demand justice for all and the dismemberment of the corrupt systems in America.
The media experienced an immediate reaction after the video of George Floyd’s murder went viral. As a result, people began to use their personal platforms to expose police brutality and call for reform. Unlike anything we have seen before, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was significantly impacted by social media. Many people were able to contribute by posting their own experiences of discrimination and sharing helpful anti-racist posts.
At the height of the movement, COVID-19 was at its peak and large crowds were greatly frown upon. Passionate anti-racists who are or know someone high-risk were not able to participate in the protests, but still found a way to weigh in their voices thanks to social media and news outlets. Informative graphics began to spread across platforms teaching people how to confront prejudices they were not aware they held. This paved the way to having conversations about more than just racism, but also womens’ rights in the campaign for Trump’s reelection.
While the original use of social media was to share entertaining content, it has now become a hot spot for effective activism. I’d like to think the BLM movement was just the beginning of the “Social Activist’s Media.” As an effect of current events, many young people are now open to sharing their opinions on controversial topics through their personal social media platforms. It’s important to note most justice movements, including BLM, are not meant to be controversial, because they are a basic call for human rights! Use your platform for the better, even when it feels like no one is listening. The words and beliefs you put into the world have a much larger impact than you believe. You have the ability to influence and lead others. By using social media, you can use that power to spread love instead of hate.