The Importance of Social Media to Activism

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Lindsey Brown
Professor Daren Dean
English 2000
22 March 2013
You Cannot Ignore the Importance of Social Media
According to Dictionary.reference.com, activism is the policy or action of using campaigning to bring about political or social change. A huge campaign that is well known across the world, the Civil Rights Movement, was brought about by Martin Luther King, Jr. King risked his life everyday to ensure justice and equality for the African American race. “Small Change” by Malcolm Gladwell gives insight on how activism is more effective than social media, especially from one scenario at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Gladwell points out his strong belief of what activism can do for a society rather what social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can do. Although many people may or may not agree with Gladwell’s point of view that, “The new tools of social media have reinvented social activism”, this remains a very important topic for discussion. From the Civil Rights Movement, activism has been very beneficial to certain societies while so has social networking media sties. Today, there are many sources that support the idea that social media does have a strong impact on political or social change. However, as a member of society I have acknowledged the reasons behind activism’s effectiveness.

The matter of activism has always been beneficial in the field of change. Since activism deals with the attacking deeply rooted problems the question of what is considered a tool of activism is an argument for both sides. In one case Gladwell’s article, “Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted”, argues against the strong impact and change of social media. In the article he states that the platforms of social media are built around weak ties and weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism. He further claims that although social networks are effective at increasing participation social activism does not succeed by motivation. In the end Gladwell addresses that social media shifts out energies from different organizations that encourage strategic planning and activity toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. This represents a critical dilemma because some people rely on Facebook and Twitter for support. To make the assertion that activism has proved its un-denying positive effects from past historical events. Thus this assertion proves to be highly partial. Even though social media is intended to be used as an instrument that is well suited to making the existing social order more efficient.

Because activism lack the ability to reach out to a wider variety of people across the world it cannot be stated that activism is the most effective and efficient way of political and social change. In addition people in a certain activism situation cannot spread their word out to everybody possible. Thus as members of society we have influence in the outcome of small activism situations. In addition whether or not we acknowledge social activism as effective and taking a stand for or against social media will in turn affect both our society and the fate of the societal impact. So in this situation for those who believe that activism is a strong, influential technique it is understandable to oppose social media in order to protect your name out in the social networks. By doing so those who argue against social media are also speaking and supporting the effectiveness of the MLK era and more.

Aside from the hacking and spam issues social media has also proven to have multiple disadvantages. Social media requires the collection of information, personal or organizational, to be shown to the outside world. While we tend to think that social media sites are secure, there are numerous instances where social media sites have been hacked and personal information has been compromised. This proves to be the first issue because of the risk and the fraudulent of personal...
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