By: Lauren Oliver
One of the many ways the rapidly evolving technological age has shaped our society is by greatly impacting the landscape of activism and social advocacy. While the image that comes to many people’s minds with the word ‘activism’ are images from the Civil Rights Movement and the protests of 1960’s American, in reality activism today looks drastically different. With the high amount of engagement from users on social media platforms, it’s not surprising that those platforms would eventually serve the purpose of connecting like minded individuals.
Before the Digital Age, activists who were passionate about the same issue were likely only in touch with one another if they were geographically close to one another. Now, passionate activists can connect from any distance simply by using social media. Though some people write off online activism, it’s importance is real and tangible. 21 Hashtags the Changed Feminism explained the evolution of hashtags for social movements and demonstrated that over time hashtags have become safe havens for oppressed people and legitimate platforms for activists. The significance of being able to connect with thousands or millions of other people who have had a similar experience or have similar beliefs to you is undeniable. Through these online safe spaces many have found a voice and a community that they didn’t have before.
Of course digital advocacy does have its opponents. In Anti-Hashtivism the writer expresses frustrations about the ‘0 to 60’ environment that online social advocacy can sometimes be guilty of. While it’s true that social media makes it easier to create an echo chamber for yourself, the benefit outweighs the negative aspects. Overall digital innovation and social media have created necessary safe spaces for thousands of people who had never felt a sense of community.