You Need to Connect Social Activism to Social Media

June 15, 2016

2:35 pm

Today’s digital users are more interconnected than ever – and that can be a good thing. From business to personal use, users turn to every corner of the Internet to remain productive, entertained, or otherwise engaged to the world around them. And social media has added to this – with more users than ever engaging in real-time on various social media platforms, the lines between personal and professional are becoming blurred.

But that’s even more reason why we could use these platforms to go further.

There have been various studies about how social media affects the mental health of users (especially young ones), and few actions taken by the companies themselves to make interaction more positive. So what other options do we have? It’s time we look to solutions based on social activism to truly make an impact on positive interactions for users on social media.

Where Groundwork Meets Hashtag

The image of social activism has greatly shifted since the rise of social media, with many prominent contemporary movements being rooted heavily in digital trends. Hashtags, blogging, and real-time interaction on issues that users heavily respond to – social media is actually a fitting place for social activism to blossom.

And though it’s happening slowly, companies are beginning to see the value of intersecting the two. With heavy concerns from users on how to deal more effectively with users struggling with mental health, Facebook has launched suicide prevention tools (available worldwide) to give users control over their interactions and dealing with real-life issues online. If a post is flagged as suicidal, users are notified with the option to talk to someone, get self-care tips, and find local resources to help them find positive solutions offline.

In such a public stance, Facebook’s new suicide prevention feature is the next step to merge social activism to social media. But how will this affect the rest of the social media market?

Beyond Online

For social media activism to truly be effective, it’s essential for users (and social media companies) to incorporate offline options. The real work begins offline, where the action takes place and the trends are interconnected to what happens online. Understanding the link between the two is crucial for both users and social media companies to find success in merging the two and crafting a safer, more positive social media experience for everyone.

Though many users look to social media for an escape, the reality is that there’s too much crossover from real-world issues to have that happen. Real world issues are still finding their way online, and it’s important that users are able to protect and navigate themselves through them with the knowledge and tools that will help them be the most effective. The future of social media needs this to happen.

Credit to Stocksnap.

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Cameron is a tech and culture journalist, comic book enthusiast, and lives near New York City. A graduate of Stockton University, she's using her words to shift the world of online journalism, one byline at a time. When she's not writing, she can be found reading sci-fi novels, collecting succulents, and planning her next obnoxious hair color. Cameron is an editorial fellow at Tech.Co. Send your tips to cameron@tech.co or tweet @BlkGirlManifest.

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