Driving Online Activism To Offline Action
The increased use of social media platforms as a conduit for communicating ideas and messages has catapulted hundreds if not thousands of social justice movements into the spotlight.
Is online activism enough and how can advocates for social justice and community organizers more effectively direct its use into real, substantive difference making in the lives of everyday people? How can social media movements translate into true longstanding change?
The hashtag is a means of communication not necessarily a means of change. Online movements must translate into action in the streets and boots on the ground working in the community.
There are way too many who have decided that this internet activism is the end of their work and it is very, very dangerous. It is not to say that being on the internet and helping to share that information and raising awareness is not important. It is extremely important. It is a method of communication; however, there is some organizing that has to come along with that.
People must be directed to specific action steps as a way to move beyond what has been referred to as “hashtag” or “online” activism.
Online messages and movements must be properly communicated offline. You have to be in community, with folks organizing, coming together, meeting with people, knocking on doors.
Directing people to information in their communities like the dates and times of school board or city council meetings via social media was just one example of continuing the momentum from online to on-the-ground work. Movement messages must also continue to be spread by more traditional methods of information sharing through radio, television and writing.
It is not about trying to develop a brand to become famous but it is about real work. The work must be continuous and consistent
By Starla Muhammad