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  • Writer's pictureRhoda Akua Ameyaa

Ways to Engage in Activism

(Besides Posting Infographics on Your Social Media)

Image via news.virginia.edu/


Activism looks different since the rise of social media as Smartphones transform how we stand up for one another. While some digital natives mistake reposting infographics and selfies as an act of participation, we must remain aware of the deeper purpose of Social Activism. In this article, I mention how social media has distorted the ways we approach social activism and suggest some actions that activists can take to project their activism beyond the scope of social media.

Activism goes beyond conventional politics because it is more passionate and committed. Through activism, people have defended causes that range from a personal connection to the issue, what affects specific demographics, and various issues in our society. It is a fact that activism has become a little easier by creating trends, hashtags, and infographics.


Sites like Instagram and Facebook employ algorithms that analyze words and hashtags to increase the popularity of topics. The increase in popularity has enabled popular topics to attract a wide audience in a short period (Prier 52). Unfortunately, the attention to the topics dies down once social media grows bored of them. Dwindling of the attention given to social issues once a trend is over has given rise to the question of whether people genuinely care about the issues at hand to begin with.


Social media has created competition on who posts what and has given us unrealistic judgments of how good or bad a person is based on what they post. Owing to this, people tend to follow what their friends are doing online rather than find alternative ways to help. Sometimes, people think that their friends will think less of them if they don’t repost things on their social media pages. Fans of celebrities become highly critical of them if they do not post about ongoing issues. All these have created a version of activism that is mostly just reposting instead of doing extra work. Performative activism has dragged back the progress of many social movements and has reduced the purposes of certain causes to being only attention-grabbing trends predestined to wind down after a short period.


Student activists (via https://www.nea.org/


Since reducing important issues to just trends does not help the causes one fights for, I suggest that “activists” do more than just knowing and posting about what is happening. Activists must educate themselves on the issues they post on their platforms. There is a lot of information out there, and one will not find them unless they research and ask the right questions. Becoming socially aware and committing to consistent small actions is another way activists can take their activism a step ahead. Such actions may include minding their vocabulary around the cause they stand for, calling themselves out when their actions contradict what they preach, holding themselves, their family, and friends accountable, and staying up to date with updates on the matters they advocate for or against. Attending workshops or joining activist organizations could also help one stay involved outside the social media environment.


As one prepares to learn more, they must remember not to use the people whose rights, freedom, or welfare they fight for as their only learning tool. Of course, sometimes it is important to communicate with such people to ask what they think one can do to help, but the activist must acknowledge that they do not owe them a lecture on their lives or experiences. One can read books and ask questions that prompt further learning instead of asking the affected people every single detail of their lives. Finally, one must prepare to do more behind the screens where people do not see their works. As I already pointed out, many people participate in activism to please their minority friends or acquaintances.


Shouldn’t the impact one seek to make be the major reason they involve in any form of activism? If an activist is genuinely interested in the issues and wants to help, they must remind themselves that what is unseen by the public eye is also important. Behind closed doors, some actions that could help are making unlearning and relearning routine aspects of one’s social activism.



I believe that there is no one right way to do activism, but there is one thing that activists should always keep in mind: not everything is always about us. If one wants to help make the world a better place, we should be mindful of the space we take and how we make space for others. We should strive to decenter ourselves from certain conversations as much as possible and remember that while social media is a necessary tool for activism, it does not need to be the only avenue for our activism!


works cited/referenced

1. Prier, J. (2017). Commanding the Trend: Social Media as Information Warfare. Strategic Studies Quarterly, 11(4), 50–85. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/26271634


2. Jonathan A. Obar, Paul Zube, & Clifford Lampe. (2012). Advocacy 2.0: An Analysis of How Advocacy Groups in the United States Perceive and Use Social Media as Tools for Facilitating Civic Engagement and Collective Action. Journal of Information Policy, 2, 1–25. doi:10.5325/jinfopoli.2.2012.0001


3. How to become a human rights activist. (2021, March 01). Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://www.humanrightscareers.com/magazine/how-to-become-a-human-rights-activist/


4. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/07Anderson.html

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