The impact (and effectiveness) of digital activism in modern times is palpable, a simple hashtag (like #BlackLivesMatter or #MeToo) can turn into a massive movement IRL, translating tweets and digital posts into a real action that can change the course of history. Digital activism shines when social media tools are combined with street-level organization, according to a research from the University of Washington.
The same research shows that digital activism campaigns have a tendency to be more effective when they’re targeted against government rather than business authorities – but this doesn’t mean that corporations are off the hook when it comes to being the target of massive protests. Governments still tend to lag behind activist movements in the use and mastery of new social media tools, giving protestors the upper hand.
There’s not a perfect formula for your digital movement to get traction and attention, but there’s certainly a few factors you can take into consideration when it comes to get some hype behind your causes:
- Use The Momentum: When you’re not the only one thinking there’s social injustice happening around you and other’s get behind you, it’s time to act and take advantage of the situation to raise awareness.
- Storytelling Is Key: A moving, real story and solid communication skills (and the proper outlets for it) is what’s going to get your message across, serving as inspiration for others to advocate as well. Emotion and empathy go a long way.
- Choose Your Platform: Visual elements for Instagram, the right hashtags for Twitter with short but powerful messages, connecting with the right groups on Facebook… build a proper strategy for each social media community and reach (and mobilize) more people.
Digital Activism remains as a fuzzy term for some people (who refer to it as “clicktivism” as well), and it needs to be separated completely from Performative Activism, which lacks the depth and meaning of true activism, whether is done online or offline.
The true success of a movement comes from its soul. You have it or you don’t. So the next time you want to make your favorite causes a trend, ask yourself: what’s your purpose for doing so?