Using Social Media

Social media provides a set of tools for communication, framing and reframing, movement building, organizing, and efforts to change popular culture and to transform or interrupt cultural racism. For example, The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (involved with interfaith social justice advocacy) offers this insight into the use of social media for community organizing: “Good organizing is all about building relationships so that you have a network of supporters who will back you up when you need to get something done. … Though online organizing can never replace in-person connections, it can help you build a much larger audience than you could do in person and is a quick and easy way to get information out to many people at once.” (Hyperlink)

Like any tool, social media has pros and cons for racial equity work. On the plus side, the opportunity exists for people who like the message to send it out to their networks, thus “multiplying” its reach and perhaps connecting organizations with new and useful networks. On the negative side, as with many media channels, it is difficult to control who sees or does not see the information, particularly as it is being multiplied. And, as everyone has seen many times, the anonymity of social media seems to invite a great deal of hate speech. Some research also indicates that social networking is better at connecting with and entertaining people than at motivating them to act, and particularly, to take sustained action. This section has examples of ways in which groups are using social media in their racial equity work.

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