Hello again my fellow bloggers!
I have been having some technical difficulties with coming up with a subject to discuss in my blog. And then all of a sudden DING DING. I should also mention that my idea for this blog stemmed from the article by The Cycling Feminist, so a thank you is in order for the inspiring blog post!
After discussing social media, and technology, I have a thorough understanding that their is indeed a relationship (or lack there of in some views) between social media, technology and activism. To further prove this, Clay Shirky wrote an article entitled The Political Power of Social Media in 2011. In this article, Shirky articulates on the thought that social media and similar technologies have the power to create social activism, and will eventually lead to social changes. He further proves this by using examples such as the use of mass text-messaging to overthrow the Philippines President Joseph Estrada.
So where does all of this information lead us to?
Being a very optimistic person, I tend to view most subjects in a very positive manner. The same goes with technology and social media. Do not get me wrong, I am not a zombie to the notion that technology has some impact on our society, but I also note that we individuals impact and change technology (sounds to me like social shaping of technology approach ;)….) With this understanding, I tend to side with Shirky in believing that technology and social media can positively impact social activism and change. To further support my reasoning’s, I will use a very recent example of an individual using social media in order to create social activism and change. This individual is none other than Helene Campbell of Ottawa.
Let me begin by discussing the story of Helene Campbell and how she began using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media forums to share her story. You can read all about her story and journey on her website A Lung Story, but here is a quick summary. In September 2011, Helene was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, an incurable lung disease. As time went on, Helene’s health was deteriorating. Eventually, she was transfered to the Toronto General Hospital. Along her whole struggle, however, Helene used her Facebook account and Twitter account to start an activist movement that was concerned with the becoming an organ donor or giving blood, since she herself needed a donor for her needed lung transfer. This social action began spreading slowly, with the hashtags “#beanorgandonor” and “#donateblood” appearing over different Twitter accounts. Soon, with the thanks of local and national newspapers and television broadcasters, Helene’s story, as well as her campaign began to gain followers. Soon enough, Helene was able to get celebrity endorsers to support her cause, including the famous Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres. Soon enough, on April 6, 2012, Helene receives her double-lung transplant surgery, with a successful recovery to follow soon after. In July 2012, Helene is able to return home to the city of Ottawa. Even though her story has a happy ending, Helene knows that not all stories end so well. With that in mind, she still is an avid supporter to her cause. For example, she is still tweeting with “#beaorgandonor” or “#giveblood” in her tweets.
To begin to conclude, Helene Campbell’s campaign is a true example of how social media and technology can have a positive effect, by creating social activism and change in our society. Approximately 2,000 people signed up to become organ donor after the retweeted message by Justin Bieber, and since December 2011, organ donor registers in Ottawa alone have increased by 8,000 donors! That to me shows how successful this campaign truly was. In summary, I believe (maybe due to all my optimism) that technology and social media can be successful in employing social activism. Helene’s story is the verification that social media can be used to help create political and social change in our own city and country, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
As readers of this blog, do you believe that social media and technologies can create change and activism?
Do you believe that social media and technology allows “slacktivists” and “slackivism” to prosper?
Until Next Time.