Is online activism a thing?
A big part of activism is going to marches and protests, or simply getting out and talking to people to spread whatever message it is that you’re trying to help. But when you’re disabled, that’s not always possible. I’ve seen a lot of people discuss this and share the idea that online activism isn’t real activism. And I wholeheartedly disagree. I’m of the belief that you can absolutely be an activist through social media and still make a huge difference.
Social media isn’t just a weird hobby for teenagers anymore. The idea that it can’t be used as a valuable tool in activism is baffling to me. It’s absolutely an asset and there are so many ways for you to help out online.
Donating to the cause
There are plenty of ways to help out, and a big way is with money. Events and organizations often rely on donations to even be possible, so just the simple act of donating when you can is a huge help. It feels small at the time, but small acts can lead to big changes, too.
Just because you can’t attend an event doesn’t mean you can’t help organize it. There’s so much that can be done to organize an event online, whether that be updating the website, handling phone calls and emails, or managing the social media accounts. It takes a lot of work before an event can be a success, and a lot of it can be done with a laptop.
Promoting the cause
There’s power in numbers, and that means someone’s going to have to promote the cause at some point. It’s tedious, it’s repetitive, and it’s hard to see the impact while you’re doing it but it makes a difference.
Use your privilege
If you’re trying to be an ally to a community, one of the most important things you can do is recognize your own privilege and then use that to help out when you can. One easy example is to share your platform. If you have a large platform online, sometimes the biggest thing you can do is to hand over the mic to someone else. By using your position to lift the voice of someone who often goes unheard, you’re helping to get the word out without talking over it.
Educating others about your cause
I saved this one for last because I think it’s probably the most important, at least in my opinion anyway. If it weren’t for the many disabled activists I found online, I would never have started this blog. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have gotten past the toxic attitude I held towards my disease so I’d be in a much different place. Educating people matters, and it isn’t any less valuable if it comes from a tweet instead of a textbook. If someone learns something that motivates them to make a change, that’s incredible.
There are so many people who just don’t know. While some will hide behind their ignorance and use it as an excuse until the end of time, there are tons of people making an effort to learn and be better. Posting a thread on Twitter explaining why the plot of a movie is harmful or writing an article about something that happened in your community can be the moment it clicks for someone else.
If you ask me, that is every bit as valuable as marching down the street with your community.