Throughout society, we see different aspects of technology like social media, smartphones, and selfies being used for what appears to be a steady pursuit for attention. It is like a competition has been created where users are forever trying to be on top with the most likes, shares, followers, views, etc. Seeing this occurring on a daily basis causes some major concerns when considering whether or not we can actually use technology to positively impact the world around us. What would happen if we put a slight spin on this competition and it was about who could inspire the greatest change in society rather than who can get the most “likes”? We just may see social activism come alive and become a catalyst for social justice.
Can this social activism be meaningful and worthwhile?
The short answer is yes. However, it really depends on how the technology is used. That is what makes the difference – not necessarily the technology itself. Mashable’s Social Good Summit is a prime example where we see technology being used to initiate all sorts of positive social change. This is a community that is comprised of many leaders, experts, and celebrities who come together to share ideas and develop solutions which use technology and different forms of media to enhance the lives of others.
Simply doing things like changing your profile picture, liking a post, or sharing an article doesn’t mean you are being an activist. It may mean you are recognizing the importance of that topic, but beyond pressing a button, the action taken probably goes no farther. You have to engage with the content and move the conversation forward by asking questions, unpacking the information, and thinking critically about it. Then, use technology as the vehicle for activism.
Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?
Conversations take place online every single second of the day and just like in real life, they can be very productive. For me, the most important thing, I think, that allows this to happen has a lot to do with perspective. You need to have an open mind and broad perspective. This is in addition to being willing to learn about things you didn’t know, and perhaps, even admitting you are wrong.
When having these conversations, you need to have information that is accurate and that accounts for all sides of the story. How information is shared via technology can sometimes make this difficult; so, read and think critically – especially before you speak!
Don’t be afraid to to use your voice and as Gandhi once said:
~ Be the change you want to see in the world ~