Reflections

Through this class, we gained deeper insight towards what it means to be a “slacktivist”. With so many of us being passive users of social media, it is undoubtedly so that this has culminated in a form of armchair activism. While we may be anxious to like or share a post with only good intentions for supporting a social cause, we have come to realise that this may not be an effective way, or a beneficial one in fact. After this class, we are now more aware of what social media content we want to share, and consider the consequences of our actions. It got us thinking – Are our motivations for sharing this content really true towards campaigning for a social change,  or are we just looking to soothe our egos? We cannot rely on slacktivism to effect a social change, so how else can we do more besides liking and sharing? This also got us thinking about how social media, when used strategically, can indeed be a tool for social change.

(Kony 2012: While people may share the video, or even pledge to show support, how many would donate money for the cause, or take action to make things happen?)

hashtag-4-228x300
Sharing a video might raise awareness, but knowing while doing nothing doesn’t help to fix anything.

One aspect of the course that our group found really interesting and never really thought of before was the extent that social media can be used in disaster relief. Before, our understanding of social media use was rudimentary, in the sense that we just thought that people would go onto something like Twitter for updates. However, Ushahidi really opened our eyes to the potential of social media. It is perhaps particularly apt to find out that Ushahidi will be used to monitor the (happening now!) American elections for any signs of voter suppression or crowd violence.

Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 10.38.10 PM.png
Screenshot of the Ushihadi webpage monitoring the American elections. The tags correspond to various labels on the left, allowing people to know what is happening in the various states.

 

References:

Header Image: http://www.dennisitumbi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/good-bye-social-media-474×189.jpg

Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

Image 1: http://notenoughgood.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/hashtag-4-228×300.png

Image 2: https://usaelectionmonitor.ushahidi.io/views/map

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