***I've been so hesitant to post this particular article. It's something that I've been thinking about for the past few months. I totally understand that my view may not align with yours, and that's okay. If you want to have a conversation about this and share your thoughts, please fill out this form.
Online activism is a slippery slope. People post on their IG stories, but they don't actually do anything about it. Everyone is like "link in my bio for petitions", but how many of those petitions have they actually signed? It's performative activism, and oftentimes, it's not effective.
People that don't agree with you are just going to skip it or unfollow. The people that agree with you are probably posting similar things, so what's the point? Who's mind are you changing? What audience are you really reaching?
Or, is it for clout? People that engage in online activism often know a lot of people that do the same thing and there's this sense of toxic competition. Who can post the most stuff? "This person posted about this issue, so I need to do the same." Also, people repost the craziest stuff without fact-checking or making sure it comes from a reputable source. An IG account with aesthetic textposts isn't a reputable source. Yes, people can pull from reputable sources and make the posts. Sometimes they just put their own opinions without anything to back it up. Another example is when people repost Twitter anecdotes, sometimes they make sense. Sometimes they don't. So, honestly online activism sometimes seems to validate the person posting; it's like a pat on the back that they're "doing something" for a cause. But how much change are they really effectuating?
There's this sense of pressure for online activism and people are so quick to point out that "this celebrity didn't post about this issue", so they're "canceled" or "don't care." People are so concerned about what other people are doing, what other people publicly support, that sometimes we forget to focus on ourselves, and our growth in our pursuit of justice.
I'm not saying don't post about important issues. I'm not saying don't repost the aesthetic textposts or Twitter screenshots. I'm saying to stop holding people to this unrealistic standard that they have to post about every single issue and if they don't, they somehow don't care. There are other ways to show your solidarity with a cause. Canvass for a political candidate. Become a poll worker. Make calls for a campaign. Lobby your representatives. Protest. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch films. Support business with standards that align with your own.
Stop canceling people. Take a look at our own online activism. We can do better, so let's make that happen.