Can social movements succeed online? | The Tylt
In 2020, the digital spaces we occupy are just as important as the physical spaces. Conversations take place online, as does activism. According to the founders of Black Lives Matter, the movement began as a hashtag in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Seven years later, #BlackLivesMatter is so much more than an hashtag; it is both a full-fledged organization and a social movement sweeping the globe in the form of in-person protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism. The Me Too movement also gained international attention as a viral hashtag, resulting in increased awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual violence as well as some policy changes. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has rendered otherwise global in-person events, such as the Earth Day climate strike and many June Pride parades, impossible. Both the climate movement and the LGBTQ movement are looking to online alternatives in order to maintain energy and camaraderie in the midst of the pandemic.
More than one social movement has gotten its start online and later transferred to in-person activism, while others are experiencing the reverse. Every movement aims to create major changes—both among people and in policy. Can these changes really take place via online discourse alone?
Can social movements succeed online?
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