Advocacy is about working with networks of people to raise awareness of the issues affecting them. Advocacy gives people the power and opportunity to influence policymakers and stakeholders, and at the same time be influenced by their ideas and actions. This leads the community to the path of achieving societal change.
Old technologies are combining to form a new form of technologies that provide user-friendly experiences for a new, woke GenZ audience. This means that audiences can now actively comment, like, and share content on social media This convergence has given our generation the power to decide what we want to see on social media and what we want to identify with. Social media connects people with the general public, businesses, and policymakers, which helps youth advocates gain the following and support of like-minded people. This makes youth advocates feel valued for their voices and ideologies. It further boosts their confidence, which encourages them to continue their campaign in the hope of being heard, and they visualize themselves as agents of change.
Let us take an example of advocacy on Instagram. Many influencers use Instagram and Twitter as an advocacy tool to raise awareness about current issues affecting the youth, such as climate change and mental health. The portrayal of the issues has encouraged more people to be aware of the challenges that affect our generation.
Hashtag activism is on the rise as Instagram and Twitter have allowed the youth to express their views on current issues and raise awareness in society. Hashtag activism allows social groups to engage in discussion on current issues and show support for them. Hashtag activism can make news widespread fast. People can share the news on other platforms and show support. #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo are two successful examples of hashtag activism. Hashtag activism can act as a call to action for government institutions, policymakers, and stakeholders.
Inclusion and Diversity in Social Media Advocacy
In social media advocacy, we must be inclusive to and respectful of different ethnicities, races, and backgrounds. Our language must also be appropriate, clear, and straightforward so that the audience does not misunderstand the viewpoint or the intent of the post. Moreover, we must make social media content accessible to all, regardless of abilities, gender, social class, race, ethnicity, and background.
We must make sure that our social media content eradicates any bias and prejudice against social groups. Our social media content must not encourage stereotypes. For example, if a person with a visual impairment wants to watch a video on Instagram, we could consider using an alternative such as closed captions or audio descriptions of the content.
If we use social media for advocacy in the right way and with the right intent, it will become the most powerful boon for the youth.