How social media and social justice go hand in hand
Social injustice refers to the unequal or unfair distribution of 'wealth, opportunities, and privileges' within society. The aim is to remove social injustices within our society, in order to create a world where there is fairness and equality for everyone. As many of you may know, these days lots of people are choosing to advocate for social justice and there has been an increase in social justice movements. These are great steps in the right direction, but unfortunately, in current society, there are still ongoing social injustices that affect minority groups. Therefore, we must speak up about current injustices and continue to advocate for positive change. So, what's the best way to do this?
The answer: via social media! Social media is a popular form of communication these days, allowing people to easily share information with large audiences. As a result, the best way to get a message or piece of information across to people is to share it through the media. The media is the most effective means of sharing information and raising public awareness about social injustice. Raising awareness about ongoing social injustices is essential because it can educate others and assist them in developing a better understanding, which may lead to more people becoming involved in campaigns, activism, and protests or other movements. To add to this, exposing instances of social injustices via the media can initiate appropriate penalties or punishment for those who contribute towards social injustice.
What impact has social media already had on social justice movements?
So, we know that one of the best ways to advocate for social justice is to spread information via social media. This has been incredibly effective in the past! For example, you're probably familiar with the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement initially started with three people who intended to stand up against racism and police violence towards black people. They used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media and once it started to spread, more and more people started to support the movement and use the hashtag. Now, the Black Lives Matter movement has spread globally, with a huge network. In 2020, the Black Lives Matter organisation reported that:
" The impact of our organization has reached millions across the globe, with people from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, France, Netherlands, Brazil, and Sweden visiting our website in greater numbers. Globally, our reach has increased by over 3,370%"
The Black Lives Matter movement all started with a small online community and a hashtag, which demonstrates just how powerful the media can be. Let's take a look at another example. The hashtag #Lovewins was first used in 2015 after same-sex marriage was finally legalized. The hashtag was introduced by the Human Rights Campaign, which is an organisation dedicated to equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. #Lovewins became a global trend, with millions of social media users interacting with and using the hashtag to show support towards the movement.
How we can all get involved
So it is clear that the media can be an effective tool for promoting social justice. If you use social media, you can also use your platform to inspire positive change. It may appear too effortful and time-consuming, but getting involved doesn't have to take long. For example, you could start by doing simple things like reposting other people's posts about social justice issues. By doing so, you can increase the visibility of the post from just their network to yours as well. This would increase the number of views, reads and shares it can receive! Reposting something only takes about 5 seconds of your time, so why not?
There are also other ways that you can use your social media platform to promote social justice. Minority groups are underrepresented and therefore the struggles they experience may go unacknowledged unless we make it public. If you see or hear about any minority groups being treated unfairly within your local community, use your platform to speak up about it in order to inspire small-scale positive change within your community. Also, if there is a particular social justice issue that you are interested in or affected by, then you could use your platform to inform others and be a voice for change, and even join online communities where you can organise and participate in real life events such as peaceful protests.
The key message here is to not underestimate the power of social media. Consider using your own social media platforms to create awareness and be a voice for social justice. The demand for social justice won't stop unless we do.