When I was freshman at the University of New Hampshire, I joined “The Facebook”. Little did I know how impactful that website was going to become in our everyday lives. What started as a social media site exclusively to college students is now world wide and even my parents use it. (“The horror, the horror”).
Social media is everywhere and has transformed our lives. News breaks on Twitter, companies hire social media experts, and most people use this product without maximizing their effectiveness—sometimes they even alienate their audience. Therefore, to become better activists, we need to learn how to use social media to our advantage.
Let’s face the harsh reality: a lot of us do not know how to use social media in an impactful way. Don’t worry, all hope isn’t lost! A few small changes can vastly improve your social media presence in a positive way.
Step 1: Tone down the anger and don’t over react
It is understandable that you are upset with the things our government is doing and it is your first amendment right to voice your displeasure. But, your tone will determine your success. If you are constantly angry and over react to every issue out there, your audience will tune you out and possibly hit the “unfollow” button.
Step 2: It isn’t all about activism—show your personality it makes you much more interesting
If every post is about your activism, people will become bored. To be more impactful, it is essential people have a relationship with you. Do not be afraid to let people in and make some more personal posts… but not too personal (you know what I am talking about, we’ve all seen it). When in doubt, post about your pets –everyone loves social media posts about puppies.
Step 3: Use humor, but be careful
Don’t be afraid to make a joke! People like to laugh. Jokes can break down barriers and allow us to establish a connection with another person. Personally, I follow tons of meme pages because I like to see humor on my feed. However, we must be careful and understand that a joke made in poor taste can alienate and turn an audience against you.
Step 4: Create content that is valuable
You do not just have to regurgitate what someone else has already said—Create your own original content. You could start a blog! You could go to committee meetings in your statehouse and put them on Periscope or Facebook Live for people to see. You can send out alerts about bills that are going through your legislature. The information is out there, but it will require you to do some extra work to stand out from the crowd.
Step 5: Use the right hashtag
For those of you that don’t know, this is a hashtag, #. Using this in your post allows for it to be searched by the subject. All state legislatures have one and information is breaking on there daily. If you want your content to be seen by other people, make sure they know where to find it! #HashtagsAreThatSimple
There are a lot of different methods for activism, Letters to the Editor, phone calls, door knocking, testifying before committee, and many others. However, Social media has taken root in our society and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, we must learn how to engage our audience properly because as Sun Tzu said, “Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”