PhotoCC- By AK Rockefeller
Digital Activism is when technology and social media are used to bring about social and/or political change. Though activism can be a touchy subject, it really can be used to make a positive impact throughout our personal lives, community, nation, and our world, if we know how to use it wisely and for the right reasons.
Like most, I am guilty of spending an immense amount of time aimlessly scrolling through social media. Though I am on social media, I am not one who is very active, a few likes and shares once in a while, but I don’t plan on trying to implement social or political change in the near future. The reason why, is because I have not been impacted by anything strongly enough to force change. However, many have, and I strongly believe that you need to stand up for what you believe in. Just keep in mind, that not everyone shares those same beliefs and your activism could stir up some disagreement and hate, so be prepared. If I were to be a digital activist, it would most likely be for a social issue such as bullying, depression, or just being positive and knowing that you are going to make it through your tough times.
The thing about being active online is that as soon as it is uploaded or shared, it is out there for the world to see and depending on the impact it leaves for just a few people, your ideas can go viral within minutes. You will have people on board and supporting your stance, or you will have people going against it, either way, you have stood for what matters to you.
After researching Teen Activism, I decided to look further into Buddy Project. Wow, this teen really has really started something marvelous! Buddy Project, is a non-profit movement that aims to prevent suicide and self-harm by pairing people as buddies and raising awareness for mental health. Started by Gabby Frost, at the age of 15, Buddy Project was inspired by the comments of friends voicing their struggle with mental illness, self-harm addiction, and suicidal thoughts, and how her support was always helpful and meaningful. Gabby was also made aware of other’s struggles through Twitter and decided that if she could pair people with a new friend that had the same interests as them, she could possibly prevent people from committing suicide. Though I can only guess that Gabby was a little unsure about her launch of Buddy Project, it has really taken off. When the project started in 2013, teens were paired with a buddy based upon mutual interest and age and as of October 14th, 2016, there are 148,000 people signed up to be paired. Talk about a positive impact being made! I can only hope to one day make a difference like this, I am truly inspired.
Digital Activism can be a really great way to promote change, let’s take the initiative like Gabby did and make a positive difference.