SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR CHANGE

First of all, What is Social Media? Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Websites and applications dedicated to forums, microblogging, social networking , social bookmarking, social curation, and wikis are among the different types of social media. Do you have Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr ? If you do….. i bet you have came across hashtags that promote change,cause,campaign, activism and many more!

social-media-icons-300x225Social Media has become a very powerful medium to us netizens around the world! It is not only used anymore to keep in touch with friends, sharing photos + videos and jokes but it has been used as a force for change. Social Media promotes awareness to users on issues that are still unknown about, makes way for meaningful conversations and empowering the people in the internet to be united and enable change in different ways that will benefit all of us. Examples of the Hashtags that changed the world with just one click or one share to promote change and awareness!

  1. #IceBucketChallenge raised record-breaking funds for the ALSA ($115 million since July 29) thanks to the grassroots awareness campaign which went viral, proving that a bucket of ice water has the means to warm people’s hearts and loosen their purse strings.For anyone who lived under a rock in 2014, the ALS Challenge was a viral campaign by the The ALS Association, which fights Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. People would either donate $100 to the charity or dump a bucket of ice water on themselves. They would then nominate others to do the same in their video. This led to an explosion of videos and donations for the organization. Even if more people were concerned with watching funny videos and dumping water on their friends than they were about ALS research, the campaign did generate a large amount of awareness and funding. Since July 29, 2014, The ALS Association received more than $115 million in donations!

 

2. #ArabSpring brought attention to protests and unrest in countries from Tunisia to Syria, uniting those ready to take action in hopes of a new order. The “Arab Spring” uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, have proven that social media can be used to transform society and politics on a global scale. These uprisings used social media to organize protests, highlight injustices and government crackdowns, and sway public opinion at home and abroad. The effects spread to other nations, as even now, several nations in the Middle East find the status quo challenged by youths and social activists who use social media to rally others to their cause. In response, some countries have tried, often unsuccessfully, to limit access to social media sites, but these efforts just go to prove the staying power of the internet and social media as a tool for social change.

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3.#Ferguson called for awareness of police brutality and the racial divide in Missouri. The story might not have come to many folks’ attention save for the hashtag which caused people to follow events as they unfolded on social media, blogging, sharing and talking about it all.

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4. #DelhiGangRape brought the culture of violence and rape in India into the spotlight, effecting changes in the law and in sexual education in the country. The events also inspired playwright Eve Ensler to start One Billion Rising, a global campaign dedicated to ending violence, and demanding change and justice for women.While recent occurrences of gang rape in India show the problem is far from solved, #WakeUpAkhilesh has become a rallying cry to hold Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, accountable to his constituents. The fight for change continues.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 6.48.40 PM5. #PrayforthePhilippines trended around the world when Typhoon Yolanda left the Philippines in a state of Calamity. Through this hashtag, People around the world became aware of the tragedy that happened. People mostly sent donations and prayers for the country. Social Media gave way to Natural Disaster Responses, The speed of social media has changed the way we learn about and respond to natural disasters. After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, nonprofits used social media to mobilize rescue efforts and to support the community. This also saw the deployment of one of the most successful text-to-donate campaigns seen at the time. Similarly, when earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan on Mar. 11, 2011, millions around the globe to used social media to search for family and friends, as well as get updates on a situation that was very frightening at the time, given the damage to the nuclear reactor. Similarly, in a recent New York area earthquake, residents were receiving tweets from the epicenter of the event before the tremors had reach them. The Red Cross in particular has become very good as using social media to organize volunteers and solicit donations for relief work.

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POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

  • One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it provides an environment and a medium for people to express themselves independently, and yet find community. This “hashtag unity,” to coin a term, is as real and as powerful as a group of people physically gathered in the same space. It can educate, heal and provoke change by sheer strength of vocal numbers.

REMEMBER: It’s important for us to seek out and boost the causes that mean the most to us. To shine that spotlight, to educate and be part of that hashtag unity. We should take action where we can, but sometimes simply guiding the action of others is enough. “Share this story, sign this petition, recognize that this is happening and be part of the chorus of voices demanding change.” It’s not always in our power to do much more than that, but when enough of us band together, we can convince those with the power to create solutions to act.

SOURCES:

http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/social-media

http://www.inc.com/peter-roesler/6-ways-social-media-changed-the-world.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ritusharma/power-of-social-media-dem_b_6103222.html

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