People need to be more responsible about the activism they participate in, says expert
Social media has given people a medium to express their views and participate in social activism. According to Christina Burmeister, counselling psychologist at the UAE-based German Neuroscience Center, it gives people the chance to feel like they’re being heard.
She told Gulf News: “To be heard is very important for us as humans. And social media activism makes people believe that they might actually be able to change something.”
Activism of any form is important according to Burmeister.
She said: “It gives people a chance to say what they need to. Even if it’s something as simple as voting, it gives people a united voice. This is something you stand for and something that’s important for others to know.”
When asked about the impact of social media activism, Burmeister said: “The way I look at social media, it has its dangers. But, the world is globalised, and this is one way of recreating the feeling of being in a small town. Activism on social media can have an impact. For example, the Arab Spring started from social media. People became aware of what was going on in the region. If everyone does it responsibly and does research on the things they are speaking about, people will take notice.”
But, participating in different online campaigns could also become a trend. Following the herd mentality, people might just be participating due to their peers. For example, one of the latest campaigns was the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Many social media users took videos of themselves pouring ice cold water on themselves to be a part of this campaign.
Burmeister said: “Don’t do it because it’s a fad. It should be something you care about. There are very few people who take the time out to do research. In case of the ALS campaign, you could have taken the challenge or donated. Yes, many people may not have known about it, but regardless the campaign helped. It spread awareness at a global level, and many stopped to read up on what ALS was. Even if you weren’t invited to do the challenge, you found out about it. But, people need to be more responsible about the activism they participate in. It is dangerous to follow suit without knowing what it’s exactly about.”read more…