[Editor's Note: Sophie Davis is a follower of @shesthefirst on Twitter and she wrote about STF on her impassioned blog, so we invited her to guest blog and spill her secrets for being an online activist!]
Being an activist means getting involved and taking part in order to achieve a social or political goal. As social media gains more and more influence, we can understand why activists from across the world are bringing their message online. If you want to create change and want to use social media to do so, here are a few tips that helped me on my journey to becoming a better activist and citizen on and off line:
#1: Be very clear about your social/political goal
When I decided to become an activist, I wasn’t sure what my goals were. Of course, the main goal is always to make the world a better place. But I didn’t know where to start and what I wanted to fight for exactly. So I started to do research. I realized that what touched me the most was when human rights were transgressed, especially women and children’s rights.
You have to find out what is closest to your heart, what touches you the most and makes you want to get involved on a deeper level.
If you need help, here’s an awesome website, DoSomething.org, where you can get informed on today’s most important issues.
#2: Figure out what kind of activist you are
Do you want to raise funds? Do you want to volunteer? Do you want to raise awareness? Or do you want to do a little bit of everything? Would you be interested in starting your own group or do you want to be involved within an existing organization? Your answers don’t have to be set in stone, but it’s very helpful to have some kind of idea in your head.
When I started my activism journey, I knew that I wanted to raise awareness on issues, because I believe in education. Therefore, blogging about women and children’s education seemed like the obvious path for me and that’s what I’ve started doing. What is the path for you?
#3: Express yourself
According to social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk, “social media is word-of-mouth on steroids.” A little goes a very long way. You can send tweets, you can write blog posts, you can shoot videos…there are so many mediums that you can use to make your voice be heard. Choose what’s the best medium for you!
@amanda is amazing at using Twitter to raise money and awareness. Through Twitter, she created the Twestival events and helped raise half a million dollars for various causes. The guys @thecovenews also use Twitter to share latest updates on the issue of the killing of dolphins in Taiji. I use Twitter and Facebook to share links of interesting articles and facts about children’s rights across the world. I blog about the issues I’m most interested in and feature organizations I believe in.
#4: Connect with your community
Social media is an incredible tool to connect with like-minded individuals, whether they are journalists, experts or activists within an organization from all corners of the world. TakePart.com is an amazing resource to find organizations and people who might have the same goals as yours.
It’s as simple as sending an e-mail or a tweet to someone whose work you feel you can appreciate and relate to.
How She’s The First and I connected is a very good example. I found out about She’s The First through one of their blog posts. So I went on their website and sent them a contact email. And then, we connected via Twitter. That’s how online connections are born. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect.
#5: Take action
Spreading your message, establishing and nourishing connections online make you so much stronger when you will be ready to take action off-line.
Meg at The Hatches is really taking action. Her goal is to go to Ethiopia to build a library/resource center. She is working in collaborations with Partners for World Health in Portland, Maine. She uses her blog to spread her message and her social media connections to raise funds for the trip. You can see her work here.
Social media makes to spread messages and ideas. So don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Individuals like you and I are the ones who can come together and create a movement that will lead to change. We can do it.