Social media today is a popular way to support a cause or spread a message and we are using it wholeheartedly, the best way we can when we can.
Social media allows each of us who cannot protest in public to participate in causes from home.
Even though not physically, you can be part of any movement anywhere. Take only recent #BlackLivesMatters protests.
They were organized in the US only, but the support was given online from all over the world. People were sharing black screens on social media raising awareness about the matter sending love and support to the entire black community.
The numbers are even showing that people are eager to be engaged in any form of political or social-minded activity and those are only results from the past year. According to Per Research Center, around half of Americans have engaged in some form of political or social-minded activity on social media in the past year
How social media can help to fight for a cause was seen back in 2014. We all witnessed the great power of the ALS Ice bucket challenge with the goal to raise awareness and funding for ALS disease.
The exact challenge was to make a video in which you pour a bucket of ice water over your head, post it to your social media site and challenge your friends to do the same or donate $100 to the ALS research. In just a few weeks over the summer period, people shared over 1.2 million videos on Facebook and mentioned the challenge of more than 2.2 million times on Twitter. The campaign reached almost 40 million dollars!
It was the true power of social media.
Is it possible to reproduce the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
The success of such a viral phenomenon with a cause comes rarely, true. Still, it was the example that today nothing is impossible.
The Ice Bucket Challenge’s success was in the fact that each one of us got the chance to be part of something greater. It allowed us to engage. It was a simple request to support a cause and social media united the planet.
When the cause is right we are ready to use social media hashtags, posts, and video features to mobilize every single person into a huge online and offline movement. We are able to utilize social media and truly make a change.
Remember the role supporters had in the “Me Too” movement? Together, with social media, they raised awareness around sexual harassment and assault. Only because each supporter out here, #BlackLivesMatter hashtag exists for almost 7 years. It is the most sustained effort that still brings attention to a cause using social media.
Still, why do some initiatives remain undetected on social media?
You are probably wondering why then we don’t hear more about the troubles people from Syria have or why we don’t know anything about movements that fight deforestation and illegal forest exploitation of the Amazon forests or activists that protest against the emission of the dangerous gases into the atmosphere? They are out there but below our radars.
Are they too small and invisible next to the world’s largest organizations and famous endorsers? What if their subject is not so attractive or related to a huge number of people? How can they gain traction and the chance to go viral if we can’t see them? Can only viral initiatives hope for success?
So many questions and just one clear answer – their content and campaigns are simply overrun with the content that is produced by advertising-based social media platforms. Over the years it became even harder to form a protest or advocacy for a cause that uses social media channels.
We can’t hear those who are desperate to be heard.
Moreover, social media are not what they used to be back in 2014 when we had the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraising.
Is there a place for social media activism the way it used to be?
We believe so, with the right social media platform. One post may seem trivial but it only takes one like, one share, one comment for it to become viral. Sometimes, it only takes one person to raise a question and start a movement online.
So pay close attention to what you are liking or commenting – you are maybe witnessing a key moment in the social media activism history