Using Social Media
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing”
– Malcolm X
Advances in communications technology has rapidly changed the media. Online social networking has not only provided ease of access to an unbelievably wide breadth of information, but is also more and more frequently being used as a tool to organise and promote real life events and campaigns.
With mainstream, conventional media being owned and directed by private corporations, the use of online communications and media is providing opportunities for social activism that did not previously exist.
The internet and various social networking forums have provided unprecedented opportunities to access and disseminate information. From the Arab Spring throughout the Middle East and North Africa to the global Occupy movement – organisations and individuals have used the virtues of the internet to not only galvanise support and action for a cause but also provide information and imagery in avenues outside those controlled by the corporate mass media.
According to some commentators, new media has seen that:
“information is liberating in the traditional political sense of the term: the spread of information has had a direct impact on the degree of accountability and transparency that governments must deliver if they are to survive”
– Shashi Tahoor.
Social media has become an important tool for activism. It has been used by activists to spread awareness about an issue, to promote rallies and other events, live recording of events and incidents with police, sharing petitions and information, collecting evidence, and networking with other activists and activist groups/movements.
Social media can also be a place of strife for my activists and activist groups. Having a public presence on an issue can open a person or group up to defamationPublication of false and derogatory statements about another person, without any justification recognised by law. See also: slander, libel. More, trolling, cyber-bullying, call-out/cancel culture, and even racial or religious vilification.
When using any digital tool for activism it is important to be conscious of digital security.
See encryption and data retention sections authored by Digital Rights Watch.
For more information on digital security and protecting you and your group online check out Digital Rights Watch.