Almost a quarter of the world’s population is now on Facebook. In the USA nearly 80% of all internet users are on this platform. Because social networks feed off interactions among people, they become more powerful as they grow.
Thanks to the internet, each person with marginal views can see that he’s not alone. And when these people find one another via social media, they can do things — create memes, publications and entire online worlds that bolster their worldview, and then break into the mainstream.
Without social media, social, ethical, environmental and political ills would have minimal visibility. Increased visibility of issues has shifted the balance of power from the hands of a few to the masses.
The flipside: Social media is slowly killing real activism and replacing it with ‘slacktivism’.
While social media activism brings an increased awareness about societal issues, questions remain as to whether this awareness is translating into real change.
Some argue that social sharing has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to express their concerns on social issues without actually having to engage actively with campaigns in real life. Their support is limited to pressing the ‘Like’ button or sharing content.