We are all connected, we are all one. Social Media has closed the gaps that use to separate us. Instantly I can know what is going on in Syria, Tanzania, and China all with the help of Twitter. As a Twitter advocate it may seem a little out of character for me to question whether or not the fact we are more connected overrides how deep we actually engage in these connections. I wonder if the world is taking part in a Social movement, Political engagement, or are we becoming band wagon twitter activists?
I connected, I tweeted, I engaged. I found out about the movement to #FreeTroyDavis (John Rudolf Article) on twitter which quickly spawned protests all over the world. Fast forward a few months later to today and there is literally no mention of the same in the twittersphere.
The scene…its 4am …I’m up on Twitter; staking out the tweets of an array of politicians, leaders, and activists from the President of the United States down to the mayor of Minneapolis, MN. Hopelessly and tirelessly…what was I looking for? The same thing most people are looking for a way to connect on the issues facing all of us. My hope of finding a leader (or their team) whose savvy would be powerful enough to engage me and convince me to step away from the computer screen and activate.
For me, before Twitter, my passion was impetuous enough for me to get up and get out and activate! An ambitious thought you may say but with America experiencing some tough times I expected to see more…and just wanted a leader to in 140 characters or less tell me they had a solution, not to all of the woes of life but at least be interested in something I was passionate about. As I suspected the real issues that I was looking for…nowhere to be found.
In 140 characters (maximum characters allowed for one tweet) is it possible to really give voice to what you believe in and support? Is it possible to connect enough to expand activism from the computer screen to the streets and make it last after you switch the off button?
Over the past few years Social Media has changed the landscape of activism. Experts say, President Obama won the Presidential election in 2008 with a large push from Social Media (with well over 12 million followers and counting I say so too). However, there is a part of me that sees Social Media as a great way to connect. But the other half of me is questioning if the connections we make are superficial or can a real movement be sustained via the Twitterverse.
During the most tumultuous times I’ve been alive to see economically, many people have been forced out of jobs is there a place to connect and make meaningful relationships? Is there way to activate likeminded people in 140 characters or less and foster activism long-term?
Is social media causing us to see activism in a way that is not about the issues but about an instant feeling that overrides the “do-gooder” spirit that ignites a movement?