Recently, I read an article in HuffPost titled “How Twitter Has Helped Amplify Black Voices Around The World,” by Lily Workneh. The article explores the ways in which Twitter drives “visibility to discussions about black life and culture, led by those who know it best.” This made me think specifically about the ways and reasons that social media platforms akin to Twitter increase the visibility of minority groups, and provide space for social movements to develop in real-time.
Twitter provides a space where it is easy to find community and camaraderie. Through the use of hashtags, you can specifically tap into conversations surrounding social issues in real-time, and interact with others who have compatible or opposing views.
The Black Lives Matter movement is a great example. The movement originated as a hashtag on Twitter, #BlackLivesMatter, and since has translated into a movement away from the screen. For those who are unfamiliar, the Black Lives Matter movement was created by Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors. It was created after the acquittal of George Zimmerman and aims to draw attention to and protest against police killings of black people, racial profiling, police brutality, and the racial inequality of the United States criminal justice system.
This, of course, is one instance of many. Twitter provides space both for the snowballing and creation of social movement, and the quick spread of information. This allows those on Twitter to stay informed in real-time about social issues, protests, and other political happenings. Even more important than the wildfire spread of information, it allows those from marginalized groups to find commonality, and locate those who are fighting for and passionate about the same causes as they are.
It is exciting to consider how much social media has changed the landscape of social activism and advanced the rights of marginalized groups. I look forward to the ways in which this interconnection will continue to transform and positively impact the lives of marginalized people.