4.11: Political Activism Through Social Media
What is activism? The climate justice activist Anjali Appadurai said it is "the practice of addressing an issue, any issue, by challenging those in power" (Activist Handbook, 2021, para. 5). According to Newsela, activism happens "when people fight for social change" (para. 1). Faculty in the Department of Anthropology at Syracuse University frame activism as "organizing, strategizing, mobilizing, and educating" (para. 1). All of these definitions connect activism and change.
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Social media is an important tool for activism, advocacy, and change.
In this activity, you will explore how to use social media to advocate for an issue of personal interest while also considering the following questions: What might be the upsides and downsides of online activism? How do individuals evaluate the impact of their activism through social media?
Activity: Advocate for an Issue You Care About on Social Media
- Research an issue you care about.
- Then, review the Social Media Guide for Advocates.
- Advocate for your issue by interacting with local, state, and/or national elected officials and community members on a social media platform of your choosing.
- Critically evaluate your experience and outcomes.
- What did you write in your social media posts? How did you determine which words to use?
- Did you include visuals? Why or why not?
- How did you use language and visuals to persuade others?
- How did you interact with elected officials and community members? (e.g., Did you write a post and tag people in it? Reply to posts by elected officials? Direct message community members?)
- Which posts received the most engagement (e.g., replies, likes, retweets)? Which received the least engagement? Why do you think that is?
- How did it feel to advocate for an issue you cared about on social media?
- What impact do you think your actions had on others and/or the community?
- Share your results in the form of a video, blog post, or podcast.
Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example
Advocate for an Issue You Care About on Social Media by Kelsey Rowe, Fallon Matte, Kaitlin LeBlanc, Chanhwi Jung
- Young People, the Internet, and Civic Participation: An Overview of Key Findings from the CivicWeb Project
- UNICEF report: Digital civic engagement by young people
- A Unit on Teaching Student Activism
- 6 Youth-Led Political Movements to Inspire You to Vote
- Six tips to advocate socially
- 10 Picture Books to Introduce Young Readers to Activism
Connecting to the Building Democracy for All eBook
Building Democracy for All: Youth Activists and Change Makers
Connecting to the Standards
- Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
- Explain the importance of individuals working cooperatively with their elected leaders. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T4.8]
- ISTE Standards
- Digital Citizen
- 2a: Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
- 2b: Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.
- Knowledge Constructor
- 3a: Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
- 3d: Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
- Creative Communicator
- 6a: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
- 6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
- 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
- Digital Citizen
- DLCS Standards
- Safety and Security (CAS.a)
- Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
- Research (DTC.c)
- English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
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