How to Initiate a Revolution; A Tale of Tweets and Twits

I know that whenever I see someone on my Facebook feed try to spark public interest or involvement through sharing photos and other things, all I can think is “Oh my good God, you are such a tosser… no one cares!”

I guess part of my distaste for these ‘social media activists’ or ‘slacktivists’, is that in many cases it’s for personal gain.  More likes, more followers… mo problems?

“LIKE THIS PICTURE IF YOU WANT TO HELP THEM” or “PEOPLE ARE DYING IN THE MIDDLE EAST, LET’S GET THIS PHOTO TO 1 MILLION LIKES” or the ever great “SHARE IF YOU LOVE JESUS, KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU WORSHIP SATAN”

Really? You can’t be serious.

But I suppose that is the reality for these people when they live in places where war and human rights atrocities aren’t issues for them.

In my eyes, social media has become one of humanity’s greatest assets.  We are globally connected at every moment of the day.  With this interconnectedness on a grand scale, we have seen social media utilised for activism that has brought about real change.  Real-time conversations are being had by like-minded people across the globe.  Those who were once on the periphery of social change can join the conversation, and be heard.  We saw this with the #ArabSpring, and #OccupyWallStreet movements being spread and organised at incredible speed across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

But I suppose the point I’m trying to make about this ‘social media activism’ is that it all means nothing without action.  It’s all very well for you to take interest, but without serious and substantial action, it does very little.

Meme via Me (http://imgur.com/xlcAW7v)

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4 thoughts on “How to Initiate a Revolution; A Tale of Tweets and Twits

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Do people actually think getting a post liked or shared a certain amount of times is going to help someone in a significant way? Sure, it can be a great way to raise awareness but I think it gets lost in translation sometimes. I remember when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was huge. Youtube stars made a point to inform their audience on the importance of actually donating to the cause after you’ve participated but a lot of people on Facebook thought pouring cold water over themselves was enough, and felt as if they were excluded from the donations side of things. While social media might probably be one of the best things to happen to journalism today, it’s quite easy to have pieces of the puzzle go missing and sometimes that leaves people less informed than they were prior.

  2. I totally agree with what your saying! it is so annoying reading statuses or posts on issues when you know that the person is trying trying to gain likes or add to a certain online persona they are trying to create of themselves. its like people are just posting so they feel better about themselves like they have posted their good deed for the day, you should check out Paolo Gerbaubo’s (2012) book ‘tweets and the streets’ where he argues that some people just post to feel apart of the action while they stand on the sidelines.

  3. Excellent point. I am always seeing photos with “how many Amens can we get for this poor sick child”. While I sometimes see that it is people trying to show some form of support towards that child, other times the image has just been randomly plucked from a google search which is then added to a made up story and walla the creator has somehow made a viral meme. It is not to say that some of these memes don’t actually benifit people, if you think of the story of the dancing man who was shamed for wanting to dance with the video of him going viral the outcome was extremely positive.https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAAahUKEwjotcmXrdfIAhXmIKYKHWUiATQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftime.com%2F3895459%2Fdancing-man-sean-o-brien-body-shamed-fat-dance-party-los-angeles%2F&usg=AFQjCNFvUvkvIeo9ojslrmdz_jc7MyBjjw&sig2=DhXvTysa_buk4QnqfWWzdw&bvm=bv.105814755,bs.1,d.dGY a bunch of wonderful woman used social media to find him and threw a part for him to show that they believed he should be loved for who he is and there was nothing wrong with him wanting to dance. Not exactly activism, but it does show that there are positives when it comes to this sort of online nonsense. Great work

  4. Definitely agree with your point about the need for action, with social media comes great responsibility. However don’t social platforms spread news faster than anywhere else? The awareness of political revolutions and activism can be spread in a heartbeat. While I agree it isn’t too great to be spamming facebook feeds and twitter walls with slacktivism, it’s definitely important for people who don’t live in places of conflict to, as you said spread the word, give these conflicts more exposure and speak with like minded people, and that’s all movements such as #ArabSpring and other international crises really need.

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