Things Do Not Change, We do.
Social movement has been a part of human history for thousands of years, but not until recently, people from all over the world can become a part of absolutely any social movement. Thanks to social media, space and time were compressed and losing their meanings. Sometimes the usage of social media was the only reason for a social movement to occur. The ice bucket challenge was a very good example. Through social media, this particular movement was able to raise great awareness about a commonly unknown disease and raise substantial amount of capital in a short amount of time. People all over the world could participate in it simply by clicking a few buttons online, individuals like us can be a part of the movement without even stepping outside of their home. Other movements like Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street were able to organize millions of people online for their causes through social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Social media was employed as a “weapon of the weak” and for the first time in history, the voice of “the invisibles” is so strong, it challenges the powerful few and was able make changes during the process. This was unthinkable before the age of social media.
There were also times when the usage of social media leads to controversial results. The video Kony 2012 was able to gain massive public attention through social media and raised a huge amount of money, but the event quickly became silent and never truly achieved its goals. Critics against the movement stating that it is unethical to make a child abuser like Kony “famous” and naming the movement after him. Arab Spring was a movement that successfully employed social media in the process and quickly became viral in the real world, eventually it created great social change in the Arab world and forced out the political leaders in certain countries. But it is difficult to say if the movement is a great success or not. Certainly it was impressive that people were organized through social media and gathered together to bring down dictators in their country, but what happened after the dictators’ step down was a total chaos. It is difficult to say if the movement created more positive social change or more death and conflicts.
When social media is used by extreme groups like ISIS, it became a murder weapon. Through modern technologies like social media, ISIS was able to spread their influence much broader than its predecessor, Al Qaeda. ISIS acquired followers around the world and became even popular among some young people. What was supposed to unite us ended up dividing us when it falls into the wrong hands.
Social media is only a tool. It could be an accelerator for certain movements and eventually create great social changes, it could also lead to a bitter sweet situation, when the result is unpredictable. In certain cases, it can also become a weapon of the enemy and slaughter the innocent. Social media does not lead to social movements, people like us are the characters behind these movements, and it is up to us to decide how do we use social media as a tool. Even after thousands of years, one truly remains, things do not change, we do.