For as long as humans have walked this planet, we've had opinions we've stubbornly tried to bestow on those around us. From how to pronounce the word "gif" to the origins of the universe, there's no shortage of topics on which to spout our viewpoints. With the creation and spread of social media, these hot topics of debate have become even more unavoidable and relentless (just look at the comments on our president's Twitter posts, or don't if you want to stay sane). Sometimes these opinions pick up so much momentum, they morph into widespread movements that change the fabric of our very society. Regardless of if you agree with them or not, social media has become an online incubator for these sprouting social movements that past generations could never have imagined. This month, we're focusing our Hot Topic on the significant effect social media has had on fueling the social movements of this age. Partner, Rachel Davis, is here to give her thoughts on the topic:
How has social media helped evolve the way we, as a society, demonstrate our beliefs?
Social Media has created a communication revolution and a "safe space" for society to express beliefs and opinions on a global level. Social has amplified self-expression as well as our ability to connect with like-minded individuals or organizations from the comfort of our couch.
Do you think there are "best practices" when organizing a movement on social media?
It takes more than a strategic Facebook campaign to spearhead a strong and powerful social movement; however, we have seen a few trends over the last few years. The most basic component is having a clear and powerful message that people will stand behind. A unique hashtag for the movement is a must, as well as a clear call to action and engaging "shareworthy" content.
It's so easy for someone to immediately start recording video at any moment and post it for the world to see. Do you think that holds people in power accountable or does it run the risk of portraying events as one-sided?
People in power have definitely taken advantage of social media, using his or her public profiles to push their political agenda. Portraying a one-sided story is simply the nature of the beast and how so much of our system works. There are ways, however, that social makes things more transparent. People tend to act differently when they know someone's recording them or taking pictures.
What is a recent social movement that you think used social media in a positive way? Alternately, is there one that comes to mind that didn't?
As devastating as the recent news has been with so many women coming forth and sharing her stories of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in the workplace, the Time's Up movement has made a point to push the cause beyond Hollywood. Countless women took part in sharing her own experience on social media using the #MeToo hashtag.