Why Social Media Activism Is Not A Cop-Out

Why Social Media Activism Is Not A Cop-Out

Social Media Activism, or Hashtagactivism, is getting things done everywhere.
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Hashtagactivism. Also called social media activism, or internet activism. Most people have participated in it even if they haven't. If you ever talked about #Kony2012, liked a post about Michelle Obama's #BringBackOurGirls, or tweeted about #BlackLivesMatter, you have participated in internet activism.

So you may be wondering, what exactly is Hashtagactivism. According to author of @ is for Activism: Dissent, Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture, Joss Hands, Hashtagactivism “supporting and creating awareness on social issues via social media sites and networks.” To be a social activist is easy. The majority of it is retweeting something with a hashtag that your followers will see or responding to an article about a certain issue. The point is to share these issues with your social media friends and followers in hopes that they spread it to their friends and followers. This sharing of ideas helps issues get around and inspire people to think about their opinions on them.

Social media activism is effective because it allows people to voice their opinions and get educated in a plethora of social issues. How does it do that you ask? Because most social media sites are fairly easy to use. For Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you post, add a couple of hashtags and/or filters and you are good to go. Hashtag activism is also effective because it arguably gives the most underrepresented voice, millennials, a chance to voice their opinions, get heard, and be at the forefront of great change. And lastly, it is effective because social media activism is able to reach so many people very quickly. I personally keep track of a lot of things via social media because it is constantly being updated in real time by real people and not potentially biased media outlets (looking at you, Fox News).

In recent history, social media activism has gotten a lot done. For example #IStandWithPP. #IStandWithPP was created by and in support with the millions of American women who go to Planned Parenthood for a multitude of reproductive health service. Services that also include abortion. In what the Washington Post says was a highly political move, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, known for their extensive research on breast cancer, decided to cut nearly 700,000 dollars in funding from Planned Parenthood. Social media users took to their platforms and stood up for the women that would be affected by this cut as well as the huge step back in women’s rights. This hashtag described how people felt about the decision to revoke this funding. In response, the Komen Foundation restored the funding and issued an apology.

Another example would be #Ferguson. #Ferguson was created after the murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson, and the unrest that ensued after he was not indicted. In the story of Twitter activist, Deray Mckesson @deray on Twitter, he left his home in Minnesota to be a part of the protests that we going on in Ferguson. By tweeting and finding other users who were using #Ferguson, we were able to find housing and plan protests as well as give first-hand accounts of what was happening in Ferguson for people who were not there, such as myself.

As any true hashtag activist knows, there are two sides to every argument, this one included. There are some that think social media activism is for people who are too lazy to "actually do something about it". Many people, including the binge-tastic director Shonda Rhimes, have said such things. In Rhimes’ commencement speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth College, she said “A hashtag does not change anything.” and created a hashtag of her own “#StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething. (I thought this was funny because she uses hashtags to spread awareness about her shows.) What she, and many others, fail to understand, social activism IS doing something. It is raising awareness that leads to action and things being changed on national and international scales.

Social media activism isn't a cop-out for activism as we used to know it. Not everyone can take a day off and strike or occupy a building. Social media makes activism accessible to everyone, especially millennials.

Cover Image Credit: skilledup.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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