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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Social media matters

You can — and should — use your online platform for good

Scrolling on Instagram is a daily activity for most people. Yes, it’s a place to catch up with your friends, share memes, and lurk on your ex’s profile — but it’s also increasingly a platform for protesting, spreading awareness about social issues and calling others to action. Social media not only affects people you know but it also affects those who need your help. 

The death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement sparked a social reckoning that the world hasn’t seen in years. Technology allowed bystanders to get footage of the entire event. Masses lined the streets to protest Floyd’s death and the deaths of other unarmed Black men in the United States. Protests spread across the globe. 

In recent months, we have also seen social media become a place for journalism. Journalists on the ground in Gaza have shown footage of children with missing limbs, fathers digging through rubble with their bare hands looking for their children, mothers gripping their children’s bodies in body bags and indescribable mass destruction. More than ten children a day lose one or both legs in Gaza, over 28,000 people have been killed (mostly women and children), 64,000 have been injured and 1.9 million have been displaced. This is a humanitarian crisis and one of the worst we’ve seen.

Plenty of people in my life posted about George Floyd’s death. But now, they are silent. They flood their feed with normal content as if international humanitarian law isn’t being broken right in front of our eyes. 

Your activism should not stop just because the atrocity is happening thousands of miles away in the Middle East or Africa. 

Your silence is astronomically louder when accompanied by hypocrisy. If you were loud and posting about Black Lives Matter and other social issues, why are you silent now? Is it because you never cared that much about marginalized communities in the first place?

That is the real performative activism. You can’t pick and choose which issues are worthy of taking up space in your feed. Activism has been made so easy; no one is even asking you to go to a protest. They’re asking you to use your voice for change. There is so much wrong with social media, but this is one way you can use it for good.

Some people have told me that they care about what’s happening in Gaza but don’t feel the need to post about it because they assume their followers already know about it. 

I don’t buy it. Your voice matters. Isn’t it worth it to post even if just one person learns a little more about the topic? People in Gaza are asking us to speak out about what is happening to them. The people most affected are urging you to use your voice online, and you still won’t?

Posting about this issue is not dumb, and it’s not unhelpful. Keep Palestine relevant in your feed. Interact with posts by liking them, sharing them and posting them. We need peace, a ceasefire now, a release of all hostages, humanitarian aid supplied to Gaza, and for those who intentionally caused this destruction to answer for breaking multiple international humanitarian laws

Please do not say you care when you’re not willing to put the work in.


Sarah Owusu is an assistant news editor at The Spectrum. In her free time she enjoys reading, baking, music and talking politics (yes, shockingly). She'll also be her own hairdresser when she needs a change. 



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