Social Media + Digital Activism

What potentialities and limitations does online media offer activists attempting to drive social change?

For this video I wanted to highlight the notion of social media as a resource and discuss the ways in which activist groups are able to capitalise off that resource. Activism on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is becoming increasingly common as the online world is beginning to recognise the potential that these sites hold. With access to people all over the world, activist groups are able to reach further than ever before. And as a result of this, it appears that the digital public are becoming progressively concerned with issues occurring all over the world.

I begin the video by briefly describing activism as well as explaining the prominence and popularity of social media in modern day society. The adoption of online media and digital devices has highlighted a change in the way in which people communicate and hence, activist groups, organisations and the general public have had to adapt to these changes. I discuss the ease of access to information through social media and therefore, the desire to be influenced and perhaps become involved in certain social or political movements. I use the example of the Occupy Wall street movement to highlight the ways in which social media, in particular Twitter, can affect change and make a difference. I also discuss one of the main limitations and criticisms of digital activism, which is the notion of ‘slacktivism’.

As this was the first edited video I have had to create it took me a significant amount of time to get a clear idea of what I wanted the video to look like. Once I began filming and slowly putting the video together, I realised that this was going to be a very time consuming project and I then had to adopt strategies to increase efficiency. Hence, the use of creative commons images and video assisted me significantly in the creation of this video, as I was able to simply narrate over the images rather than being on camera myself for the entire length of the video. However, I did want to demonstrate my creativity in some parts of the video and hence I filmed a variety of scenes myself.

The majority of my video was narrated and hence I was able to discuss the theories of a variety of researchers over certain creative commons images or videos that related to the discussion. I also wanted to use some statistics from scholarly resources in order to engage the viewer in a way that would assist in understanding the content of the video.

The making of this video was extremely challenging. I used the iMovie application to construct the video and that in itself was a challenge as I had never used iMovie before. Hence, I was learning how to use the application as I was making the video. Another main challenge was getting started on filming the video and coming up with ideas on how it should be done which was difficult to visualise. The final challenge was realising how time consuming this activity would be, as I not only wanted to film the video but also wanted to edit it in a way that demonstrated my creativity. Overall, I learnt a lot from this exercise including how to use iMovie, which will come in handy in the future as I thoroughly enjoyed using it after I got the hang of it. I believe that encouraging my creativity through this process has pushed me to achieve a better result and produce something that I am proud of. And finally, I have learnt about the importance of social media in activism and influencing change in society.


(608 words)

Creative Commons References:

IMAGES (In order of appearance)

Question 1 ( by Virtual EyeSee (CC BY 2.0)

Social Media 01 ( by Rosaura Ochoa (CC BY 2.0)


Anonymous Protest ( by Sean P. Anderson (CC BY 2.0)

Kony Poster in Amsterdam ( by Jonathan (CC BY 2.0)

IMG_0546-01 ( by Petteri Sulonen (CC BY 2.0)

Anonymous ( by Ged Carroll (CC BY 2.0)

Facebook Like Button ( by Sean MacEntee (CC BY 2.0)

Slacktivism Charlie Brown ( by Elijah van der Giessen (CC BY 2.0)

Times Square NYC ( by Heath Cajandig (CC BY 2.0)

Logo of Twitter ( by Bernard Goldbach (CC BY 2.0)

OWS protestor holding poster ( by DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)


Occupy Wall Street ( by aboyinbrooklyn (CC BY 3.0)


Provided by iMovie

Scholarly References:

Boyd, D 2012, ‘Participating in the always-on lifestyle’, in M Mandiberg (ed), The Social Media Reader, New York University Press, New York.

Cerise, G 2015, ‘Activism or “slacktivism?”: digital media and organising for social change’, Communication Teacher, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 81-85.

Joyce, M 2010, ‘digital activism decoded: the new mechanics of change’, USA International Debate Education Association, EBL Ebook Library.

Penney, J & Dadas, C 2014, ‘(Re)tweeting in the service of protest: digital composition and circulation in the occupy wall street movement’, New Media and Society, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 74-90.

Seidman, G 2013, ‘Self-presentation and belonging on Facebook: how personality influences social media use and motivations’, Personality and Individual differences, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 402-407.

Siapera, E 2012, Socialities and social media, Sage, London.

Van Laer, P & Van Aelst, P 2010, ‘Internet and social movement action repertories’, Information, Communication & Society, vol. 13, no. 8, pp. 1146-1171.

Wilken, R & McCosker, A 2014, ‘The media and communications in Australia’, in S Cunningham & S Turnbull (eds), Social Selves, Allen & Unwin, New South Wales.

Youman, W & York, J 2012, ‘Social media and the activist toolkit: user agreements, corporate interests, and the infrastructure of modern social movements’ Journal of Communication, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 315-329.

My Broader ALC203-related online activity

I have continued keeping up to date with all the unit related updates on Twitter from both my peers as well as the Unit Chair, and have posted occasionally. However, I have not been posting as much as I have previously. My blog has been slightly updated, but I have not been able to post since the previous assignment.