A lot of people mock people’s online reactions to movements and tragedies- Instagram posts showing solidarity, changing a Facebook picture to the french flag. It is often said that these actions are not real, and that they do nothing. I was really surprised when Ghonim noted how much momentum the movement got through awareness on social media. Even though it may seem small in comparison with real world action, awareness is still extremely important for these movements. Many people simply do not know about things that are going on, and seeing an Instagram may push them to google the subject and learn. Another thing I found really interesting was the struggle Ghonim had with going from virtual to real-world. It is a lot easier to change your Facebook profile picture than it is to go out and protest. What are some things we can do to get people to become activists in the real world, as opposed to just the virtual world?

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3 responses »

  1. bobb73 says:

    Its amazing to see how fast social media can spread the word about something. I do agree most actions stay in the virtual world but if the event or movement is big enough it usually inspires real world movements. Just look at the past weeks with the “CMC mold” email that was spread by facebook. The email received so much awareness and backlash it ended up turning into protests outside the hub and library.

  2. katyschaefe says:

    Although someones post on social may not directly affect the cause, it does bring awareness to a situation, and could be personally therapeutic to a person affected by the event. Also, one should not assume that the action of something like a post on social media is mutually exclusive from other action that might be more traditionally viewed as participatory.

  3. jivikar says:

    Yeah, I agree that action on social media doesn’t always lead to concrete real world action, but it does sometimes, and that’s important. Also, if social media can ease people who wouldn’t regularly respond or get involved with movements for change and/or protests into taking a stand, I think this is a positive. There is a spectrum for involvement, and if social media can encourage more people to move further along that spectrum then that is a good thing. In this way it is a useful on boarding tool, and hopefully those who get a taste for real life action through social media will be encouraged to come back and spread the message by bringing others into their networks (both real and virtual).

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