Social causes have caused people to band together since what might seem like the beginning of time. However, one thing today's activists have in contrast to people who worked to support the Civil Rights Movement, or the right for American women to vote is social media. Sites like Facebook and Instagram can quickly become catalysts for change because they allow messages to reach far and wide in just a few seconds. In fact, Facebook will soon expand the availability of a tool people can use to proudly call themselves voters. It was first used in the United States for one of Barack Obama's campaigns but is in the process of reaching an international level.
Keep reading to learn a few ways to make your social media profiles effective ways to broadcast your views and causes.
Share News Content That Supports Your Beliefs
There's a good chance the most common question you'll be asked as an activist is why you believe the things you do. One advantage of being an activist on social media is that the nature of the medium allows you to think carefully and compose your thoughts before responding to a fellow Internet user who's curious about the reasons behind your beliefs. Support your cause further by frequently sharing related news pieces from respected outlets across your feeds. Then you can refer people to those articles to help clarify what has shaped the things you believe.
Use Graphics Often
You're almost certainly familiar with the idea that a single image can speak louder than paragraphs of text. That's particularly true in the world of activism, especially if you take advantage of infographics. They can break down otherwise cumbersome data and make it easy for laypersons to digest.
Additionally, if you're a Facebook user, consider swapping out your cover and profile photos so they reflect specific causes you support, and aren't just random personal snapshots. Alternatively, post something such as a picture of you taking part in a rally while proudly holding a protest sign.
Get Informed About Associated Rules
Social media may seem like a realm that's dominated by relatively few rules, making it very appealing to activists. Although social media does usually make it easy to speak freely about what you believe, that doesn't mean you don't have to abide by any rules at all. Learn about the things that could potentially cause your account to be temporarily or permanently disabled and try to avoid doing them.
Recently, a woman in Italy got her account suspended for changing her profile picture on Facebook to an image of two women kissing. It was reported to the website's team and deemed to be in violation of rules related to "nudity and pornography." When you're aware of the regulations and try to stay within their boundaries, it can help you make progress as an activist instead of constantly running into obstacles.
Participate in Community Forums
Message boards and similar community-oriented sites give you excellent opportunities to begin to change perceptions, often by doing little more than offering information in a helpful and non-threatening way. For example, maybe you're an animal rights activist who has stumbled upon a community post where someone is talking about how he or she has had enough of a pesky skunk and has reached the point of thinking about trapping and killing it.
That could open the door for you to suggest using alternative methods such as Havahart animal traps that contain critters but allow people to return them to their native habitats instead of hurting them.
In closing, if you're using social media as a tool for activism, it's important to stand firmly behind your views even if they are challenged. That doesn't mean not being open to hearing what others think, but rather, fearlessly and eloquently standing up for your beliefs without engaging in hateful speech or activities. Behaving that way demonstrates by example that you have a firmly founded set of things that matter to you, and you're not afraid to tell the world about them.
Image by Rosaura Ochoa