I am going to take this moment to speak on internet “revolutionaries”. These are the types that love to rage against the machine via social networking sites. They log onto Twitter, FB , or various internet groups, quick to speak out against social injustice. They’ll recite rhetoric backed with wonderful statistics and news articles and encourage others to fight the power. Meanwhile contributing absolutely nothing to whatever movement they are promoting.
See there is nothing wrong with using a public sphere to promote social justice. The problem (for me at least) is when a person identifies themselves as an activist without putting in any kind of work behind the title, portraying themselves as some super conscious socially engaged individual in order to seem cool. Fake activism is not what’s hot in the streets and nobody respects a person for pretending to be what they are not. You can spout off all the rhetoric in the world but what good is it if it’s not applied to real life? I often read what these types post–on blogs or Facebook or Twitter–and I want to ask them when was the last time they volunteered? Have they ever joined or started an organization associated with their specific agenda? Do they participate in rallies or protests? Have they ever sat on a panel or workshop addressing important social issues? Hell do they even vote? Have they ever so much as contacted their elected official? Most of these people haven’t. They rant all day on social networking sites and after they are done they go on about their day, living their comfortable lives. No more concerned about social justice, until they log back online.
I don’t know when it became in style to be an activist. Social issues are not just talking points to show off to your friends about how much you know. They are real issues that need to be addressed. Using social networking sites is a great way to raise awareness about your cause and start a dialog, especially if you have a large following. However it does not stop there. If you can mobilize online then you can mobilize IRL. Without action you are just an internet revolutionary. I’m sure I come across as judgmental, even harsh. But as much as I get on my soap box I also volunteer. I work for a non-profit. I advise a youth group and organize several different community service projects. I’ve participated in protests and marches. Sat on committees. I put in the work necessary for the types of changes I want to see in my community.
With that being said, if it matters enough to talk about it then get out and make a positive impact within your community. Online and IRL.