Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. If you don’t really get it, I feel for you — I’m not a social media expert by any means. However, it seems that these days most people have at least a basic knowledge of how social media works, but not everyone understands its potential.
In the information (sharing) age, privacy is a major concern. A lack of real privacy is a downside. Social media also has its positive side, especially in the way social justice movements use it for advocacy and organizing.
On Tuesday, NOW and Fem2pt0 hosted a tweet chat about social media’s ability to bring women together and how it plays into NOW’s 2014 conference in New Mexico, “Faces of Feminism: Strength in Diversity.”
Using the hashtag #DigiFem2, National NOW followers sent out questions and comments for our staff, and the discussion took off from there.
NOW was given the opportunity to highlight the issues our organization works on, including economic justice (Walmart, #RaisetheWage), campus sexual assault and immigration reform. Also discussed was how social media can be used to educate and advocate.
According to Pew Research Center, in 2013, 74 percent of women on the Internet used social media outlets. No matter the distance, social media gives women the opportunity to connect with one another and discuss key feminist issues. It provides a forum for often ignored voices.
Consider #YesAllWomen and the impact a hashtag had on the public’s understanding of the Isla Vista shooting. #YesAllWomen broadened the conversation from one just about gun control to one about misogyny and racism. It was critical in educating the public about the frequency of violence against women and sexual assault.
Social media also allows us to keep an eye on reprehensible media and hold notable persons accountable for inexcusable behavior. NOW’s Media Hall of Shame calls out sexist offenders in the media and forces them to take responsibility for their actions.
A recent example is that of George Will, syndicated columnist. Will recently wrote an article for The Washington Post that insinuated sexual assault is often fabricated by victims to received heightened status and privileges on college campuses. Immediately after, organizations like NOW and thousands of disturbed women turned to social media to demand Will be fired from the Post.
These are just a few ways social media promotes feminism, by sparking new ideas and reaching new demographics. Social media is a way for us to embrace diversity and allow every woman to share her experiences. National NOW and Fem2pt0’s tweet chat was a huge success, but the conversation doesn’t stop there!