Updated: Dec 16, 2021
“Can we be the hero of our family, of our neighborhood, of our own community and not expect other people to fix the problem? That's how democracy works. We have to each show up.” - Washington quoted in Puckett-Pope, 2020.
In October, I started discussing on my blog about digital activism; what it is, and how people have protested against certain systems to change things for the better in the world. Although I was aware of how much power a movement of any kind can have over an entire society, if it has a wide audience, and long-term exposure to the public, I did not fully understand all the implications. Now, after a few months of studying it, I came to the conclusion that digital activism is not only about what I thought it is; it is much more than that. It could be a painting, a meme, a televised protest, or illegal activity that can change things for the better.
While working on my digital intervention of combating cheating in online multiplayer games, every time I played Fortnite, I was interviewing people on my solution, which is the addition of the word ‘cheater’ as a label next to a player’s name. Therefore, even when I was not actually working on the project, I was still actively engaged in improving the solution for a secure gaming environment. Even if I am not proposing my solution to Epic Games yet, I am still somehow contributing on a small scale to fixing this issue by talking about it with the people around me. Even if some of them are not interested in the topic, by hearing it a few times, they will still think about it, and maybe they will notice cheaters more and talk about it. This circle of continuous information circulating frequently from one person to another can have an impact on pressuring Epic Games at some point. The more people talk about it, the more exposure and engagement it gets.
Considering knowledge is accumulated by reading, and listening about/to your surroundings, I noticed that, after I significantly researched each subject or intervention, I started to see both activists, and issues in our society more often than I did before.
So, ultimately, I think that if you want to open your eyes and look around you, digital activism is everywhere, from the newspaper you read in the morning on your phone to scrolling on social media platforms at night. In each moment there is a digital sign that shows the efforts of some people to rectify or improve a situation.
We just need to notice that digital sign and contribute to it in some way.
Puckett-Pope, L. (2020). Kerry Washington Needs You to Be the Hero This Time. ELLE. Available at: https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a34522616/kerry-washington-every-vote-counts-cbs/ (Accessed 14 December 2021).
This article is written as part of an assignment for the Digital Activism class in the MA Media and Creative Cultures program at the University of Greenwich.