Land of the Free and Home of the….Tweeters?!

A recent poll administered by Hootesuite, showed that “4 out of 5 Americans have a social media account” which has become one of the best ways to reach others. We know how social media can increase ratings for the entertainment industry and increase sales for businesses, but what can it do for social justice and equality? Let’s explore and get thinking!

Online petitions, fundraising pages, and pictures of important information such as constitutional rights have become the reality of how most of us engage in making a change. But as Judith Rodin and Stephen Steinberg discuss in Public Discourse in America, these forums are a great start but not enough as they tend to promote individual work. In other words, you don’t need a group of people to sign a petition through YOUR email address nor do you have ongoing contact with others who also signed the same petition. Your forwarded link may either encourage someone to sign it or end up in the trash when it reaches your delete happy pal. How can social media be an impact where ALL are working together in unity? My doctorate program is asking this of our cohort and I turn to the public who is the expert on what their community needs. How do you feel this can be accomplished?

In the area I work and live in, not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a computer, much less the internet. How can we mobilize under represented and under served communities in also reaping the benefit of social media power? For starters, how about making this access available in places other than fancy coffee shops or your local library.  Spaces that can provide internet access or communal meetings that have social media incorporated into the presentation. I would even take it a step further and say, how about “Social Media/Technology 101” classes for communities aimed at educating the real experts……community members. I think of the time my father, who is so anti-electronic/internet anything, took a Microsoft 101 course and was first angry and later fascinated with email. Still won’t touch a computer, but nonetheless I skill that he is proud of and would be able to use if push came to shove.

So I pose this – why not teach our generations the importance of discourse and using social media to send that message. So ask yourself today, how can you start to make a change that will not only impact yourself, but those around you? What is your role and what do you plan to do with social media? Not an easy question, but someone has to answer it…will it be you?



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