Over the years, activism has changed as much as technology has kept developing. The internet has enabled activism to develop much more quickly. It gives organizations a wider range of communication to reach to more people. To be successful, organizations would have to adapt to new changes because now everything is dependent on technology, especially real events.
Many people think that just using twitter to try and spread the message isn’t helpful to the cause. But the information on the internet that circulates moves quickly, it does garner much more attention because everyone on the internet is connected in some way.
In one of my classes that I took, we talked a lot about word of mouth persuasion and how powerful that is. By connecting through the internet, everyone who retweets about a social movement has that validation to share that with other people.
Internet social movements are considered leaderless due to the lack of visible structure, no organization and no hierarchy. It’s understandable that people find this a bit off-putting but it really depends on what you think leadership comes down to. Personally, it doesn’t matter if there’s no one individual that is considered a leader. The reason activism is huge is because people are able to bring up social issues and campaign for what it is they believe in. So the focus should be on that; whether you’re able to spread a clear message to bring about change or not. Since everything is digital nowadays so there isn’t a possible way for one person to just step up.
One very important point to note is that how the internet has changed our feelings and perceptions of such events. Before people were able to connect on the internet, we relied so much on what the media tells us, which was very one-sided. But with the improvements of the internet, now we get first-hand accounts of what goes on. It also lets people feel more involved even if it doesn’t directly affect them but just knowing that they could possibly help in some way is appealing.
The term “slacktivism” was created specifically for internet social activism. It basically describes using the internet to support a social or political change such as signing online petitions and joining a group on social media is considered doing the minimal amount of work to support the change. That is why people think that utilizing the internet for social change is not active enough because 20 years ago when the internet was not available, people were going to group meetings and protesting.
This video explains more about online activism.