The Good and Bad about online activism

Online activism, which is also known as internet activism and web activism, is when you use electronic mediums (like social media, websites etc.) to create awareness around certain issues, spread information about certain issues or try to get people to support a particular issue. Of course, these issues are normally about human rights, animal rights and equality. Think about movements like #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatters or #MenAreTrash. These were all great ways to highlight issues that women and black people face. They were a way to make people more accountable for their actions and gave victims not only a platform to speak, but also a way to reach out and support each other. However, online movements can also have a negative side, and it’s unfortunate but it happens. Here’s the good and bad about online activism.

The Good

The more we all get access to smart phones and the internet, the easier it is for us to get information and connect with each other. Online activism allows for us to become more aware of the issues around us and for us to get a sense of exactly how the people around us are affected and to mobilise people to do something about it.

The more a movement spreads, like the #metoo movement (which was a movement where women came forward, via social media, about their experience with sexual harassment), the more people come forward to tell their own stories. This means that issues around gender-based violence, race and inequality are put in the spotlight and we get a chance to talk about them more. It shows just how bad some situations are and forces us to rethink the way we respond to them. For example, when a lot of men saw tweets with the #menaretrash movement, a lot of them realised just how badly women are treated and encouraged other men to do something about it.

The good thing about online activism is that it allows victims to come together, find support and not feel alone in what they are going through. It also encourages others to want to make a change. Read more here about how social media can be used for good when it comes to activism.

The Bad

You wouldn’t really think that any bad could come out of social media activism, but sometimes that’s exactly the case. This happens when people misuse a hashtag/online movement, threaten victims who tell their story or when people start online movements that make false claims about other people.

In the case of people misusing a hashtag/online movement – people might use the movement as a joke, or wrongfully accuse people of doing something wrong.

Then there are people who start movements that actually encourage hate – such as people spreading hate around Muslim people, LGBTQIA people or people from a certain race in a social media group. These hate movements can endanger peoples lives and spread the wrong message. 

Online activism is really great for awareness of certain issues. It’s good to be able to use platforms online to spread messages of equality and call for an end to hate or oppression. However, the bad side of online activism is when people don’t use facts when highlighting a situation or use it as a way to target hate against innocent individuals. To avoid getting on the bad side of online activism, make sure that you understand the facts around social issues, don’t attack victims and don’t share stories about people if you don’t know whether they are true or not. 
What do you think about online activism Choma? Let me know in the comments below.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).