For many years I’ve used social media like so many other people, as a substitute for real activism on issues I believe it. In the face of injustice, rather than protest, volunteer or otherwise work to bring about actual change I tweet.
It might make me feel good but the simple truth is it is not activism. At best it might tell my circles, who are mostly of like-mind anyway, about an issue a few seconds before they see it from someone else. At worst none of my experience, energy or time goes to helping to fix the issue for anyone.
When I step out of my social media zone I know I can make a difference. Over the years I’ve mentored, housed and otherwise helped quite a few friends get out of bad situations or advance on their own journey. It’s time I bring that energy to the other causes I believe in.
That’s not to say I won’t go back to social media or find it valuable again. It is to say that I need to remember what social media is and what social media is not. It is a medium to connect and organize. It is a way to communicate with friends, colleagues and communities I couldn’t otherwise reach from my home.
What social media is not, though, is real activism. It’s time to stop pretending and put my energy where I actually can make a difference.