Where Social Media Activism Goes Wrong (And No, It’s Not ‘Social Justice Warriors’)

There have been few other movements to spark as much controversy, confusion, and gut-wrenching passion as social media activism.

If we back up, it all started with the immersion of technology and the prominence of Internet and tech culture. The 21st century has brought us so many different innovations. With this, it has shifted every corner of our culture, even ones that we believed to be untouchable.

Activism is no different. One of the best things that has evolved from this shift has been the amount of community that has been able to flourish. For many people, social media was just another outlet to reach an audience.

But for marginalized groups – specifically people and youths – it has become essential to the advancement of our independence from oppression, for raising our voices to injustice. Social media activism invigorated the social justice that was bubbling below the surface.

The secret to the effectiveness of social media activism does not come from the catchy slogans or popular hashtags, but the ability of this medium to be used consecutively with other outlets. Without social media activism, these marginalized groups seeking change are left stagnant, and separated. There is indeed strength in numbers, and this is the thread that connects activists to a global power cord, tapping into their full potential.

There is a saying in social justice education that you need to meet people where they are. For me, that means it’s impossible to talk about social justice movements, social media activism, and identity without stating one crucial fact: these are all linked ingredients that contribute to the creation of injustice. This makes social media activism mandatory for marginalized groups to be heard. But even this comes with complications.

It is nearly impossible for marginalized voices, especially those of Youths – to be heard, credited, and respected.
One of the most prominent (and effective) uses of social media activism.Brutality and unjust legislation has gained international notice, and continues to be an effective outlet for information and outreach.

However, this movement also highlights an all-to-common trend when it comes to tech and cultural movements: It is nearly impossible for marginalized group to be heard, credited, and respected.

As much as social media activism has evolved to allow for these voices to rise above and be heard despite these hurdles, it cannot escape its dependency on oppressive norms, ripping the legitimacy of these movements from their creators. There’s a fantasy that one day technology could transcend this dependency, but in reality, there’s been cause to question if this kind of cultural theft and appropriation has actually increased online.

As social media continues to act as a millennial meeting ground for support and encouragement to flourish.


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