Social Media and Online Activism

Whenever I look at my email, there is another handful of spamming emails ranging from the completely unnecessary to the somewhat interesting. Forget “you can learn a lot about someone by looking at their mail”, how about “you can learn a lot about someone by looking at what spam mail they don’t erase”. For me, at least, I got to say that I never erase those emails from Change.org. There is something about erasing those that makes me feel not in the loop of what is happening online.

I know that sounds completely ridiculous, and it may be, but I believe that the best activism right now can be found starting online. They are unquestionably the most widespread and international, but they also seem more organized and more potent. Perhaps the most obvious example is the Arab Spring.

The Arab Spring originated from the Internet, or at least people on the Internet. On social media sites Facebook and Twitter, people were able to air grievances to the state, meet other people who shared the same ideas, and plan according for the future. Facebook and, particularly, Twitter were at the forefront of being a forum to create change in the region. However, those posts weren’t locked out of the region, I saw them over here in the United States. I felt like I was at the front row watching all of this unravel.

And we could help too. Some people created petitions to help those groups. Did we know these people personally? Probably not. Did we know their plight and their problems? Yes we did. And we in the international community became activists for change by sending supplies, writing letters, or even simply spreading the word on what was occurring. This was perhaps one of those biggest things to happen in the world in our lifetime, and we saw it on our screens as it was happening and we were all able to become activists during that time.

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