Activism in the Social Media Age

Activism in the Social Media Age

Five years after the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was launched following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, public opinion about the effectiveness and viability of using social media for political engagement and social activism remains divided, a report from the Pew Research Center finds. Based on a survey of social media users, the report, Activism in the Social Media Age (35 pages, PDF), found that a majority of respondents felt that social media platforms are very or somewhat important for accomplishing a range of political goals (69 percent), or for creating  movements for social change (67 percent). At the same time, while 64 percent agreed that social media can give a voice to underrepresented groups, 77 percent said social media makes people believe they're making a difference when they really aren't. The survey also found that African-American and Latinx respondents were more likely than white respondents to say that social media is very or somewhat important to them for getting involved with issues or expressing their political opinions and that social media helps shed light on under-discussed issues.

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