With so much technology at our hands, at some point or another, we have been involved in Digital Activism, whether we know it or not. But you might be asking yourself what does Digital Activism mean? According to an article by Arab News, Saad Dosari defines Digital Activism “as the use of Internet tools, especially of social media platforms like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc, to promote certain ideas and gather support around certain causes.”
Getting involved in Digital Activism can be very easy. Lets say one day you decide to open up Twitter to see your new tweets. As you glance at different pages, you noticed a hashtag about rioting on 5th street because Main Street being close for the next two weeks because of construction. You decide to comment on this hashtag, whether negative or positive, and guess what, you have just become a Digital Activist! According to an article by Bill Ferriter, teens are using social media in their activism daily, including at school in a positive way, helping the public. “Our newest cause is a blog designed to raise awareness about the amount of added sugar in the kinds of foods that tweens and teens eat on a daily basis, says Ferriter.” This blog written by Physical Education 12 year old students, offers practical advice to readers on the amount of sugar consumed by some foods. They especially focus on people who are diabetic by making suggestions about their sugar intake. Not only has this class worked on this type of awareness. Previously, they had made videos about the impact poverty is having on lives in the developing world. Clearly, these students are Digital Activist. Personally, I think this activism is very effective. For example, on the blog about sugar intakes, it helps diabetics know how much sugar certain kinds of food contain. But most important of all, “it helps educate people overall about the dangers of sugar.”
Since I am active on social media, I know that I have been a Digital Activist whether I was aware or not. Many times when I am looking on my Twitter or Facebook account, I come across retweets and shares from friends or other people and I will comment on them. I take a look at it, and if it is something that interest me, I will definitely share it with my friends, and that is how it keeps going around and around. However, at the same time we have to be aware with the information we share. Many times these are events which are happening in other countries. Maybe countries which prohibit the use of social media to shape public opinion, such as China. According to The 6 Activist Functions of Technology article, “In fact, while people in repressive regimes run the risk that their calls to action will be censored (China blocks messages calling for mass “strolling”), people in freer societies face the opposite challenge: there are so many advocacy messages that it is difficult to be heard.” We must remember that not because we are active online, means that we are necessarily safe from predators
Finally, Digital Activism can be used in many, many ways. And this exactly how young adults, or better known as Teen nominees are using it. These teens use any kind of social media from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube videos, etc. to bring awareness to people in the world who suffer from mental illnesses, are bullied, are anorexic, etc. As I read the summary of the different finalists, Eleni Bernier’s blog was the one which caught my attention. She created a Twitter account when she found out her best friend and herself were depressed. She decided to use her account to help people all over the world who were also depressed like herself. Not only depressed people does she help, but also people who suffer from suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, self-harm, ect. With her Twitter account she hopes to make a difference int he lives of other people. Bernier’s tweets usually relate to things that affect her or she can relate to.
It is so interesting what the world has come to. Practically, we revolve around technology and social media. Years ago, in order to find information, one actually had to do lots of research here and there. Today, with just the push of a button, we are surrounded with all the information we need. It is crazy to think where we are not, and what it will be like 10 years from today…