For this blog we (Ecmp355) were asked to think about some really tough concepts. Can online social activism be meaningful? Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? There is no black and white answer he for me, but instead many shades of gray!
In one of her blog posts, my professor states that “I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than jusy my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act.” In another post, she states that we need to move ‘digital citizenship‘ away from simply being about’cyber safety‘ and more towards becoming a justice-oriented citizen via social media (and hopefully in ‘real’ life too!).
Although I think it is important to use privilege as a way to communicate these injustices, I do not think it is my responsibility to do so. My reasons for this are selfish. Time. When you are a single mother of two young children you MUST prioritze your time, and almost every single time my kids win that time. No regrets with that decision ever. However, this also causes me to think about kids all over the world that are not near as fortunate as mine. Ones who struggle to live every single day. This kills me inside, which usually prompts me to post a couple of the easiest found articles onto my facebook, in the hopes that someone will rad it and do some REAL about it.
This brings me into that first question. Can online social activism be meaningful? I think it can be meaningful but only if someone eventuall does some REAL. As in not simply re-port something, but take real action. Donate REAL money, or REAL time, or write REAL letters to their leaders. In other words, I think by re-posting an issue you may indirectly be causing meaningful change or justice, but you are not really doing it. To me that is like telling someone to donate blood and then they do it. Yes, sure I did my part by making that person aware that they can donate blood, but they did the real work in actually donating it. Weird comparison I know! But I think it needs to be said that although simply reposting something on social media might make a meanigful difference, actually doing something about it definitely makes a meaningful difference.
Now onto the second question. Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? I think this one is definitely possible, given the right group of people in teh conversation. Growing up and currently living in a very small, conservative town, I have had the Facebook confrontations with people who simply will not change on their views no matter what I post, or say, or facts I give. In these instances I know I will not have a productive conversation about anything, let alone something about social justice. However, I think it is definitely possible. And I think it is things conversations that spark real actions, and possibly even real change for the better. The hard part is simply being brave enough to stand up for something you believe in.