By Zakary Griego:
Social media has changed how the world communicates. The ability to instantly be connected with millions around the world has also influenced present-day social justice movements.
“Social media is inherently about the gathering of like-minded people, with hashtags, geolocation tags and it is a visual medium. It’s ripe for the movements we are seeing in our society today,” Broc Carter, a mass media instructor, said.
Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit are all common places where social justice movements form and grow, Carter explained.
“I think the fact that we have these movements proves that social media is the fuel and the injustice is the match,” he said.
Another important way that social media has changed the dynamics of modern-day movements is the hashtag. “#BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #MarchForOurLives have gained so much attention because we name them to be searchable on social media,” Carter said, pointing out that the hashtag has allowed social movements to grow and expand quicker than ever before.
“You see hashtag everywhere these days. It seems like every movement I can think of, I know by its hashtag name,” Emma Wommack, a nursing major, said. This social media influence can also lead to a lack of real-world participation in social justice movements. Rather than participate in a sit-in or a march, individuals can simply tweet their support, Wommack said.
Some even go so far as to use specific social movements and their hashtags as a way to gain a higher following on social media platforms.
Whether social media’s influence is for the better or worse, it’s here to stay.