From Facebook to Instagram, Twitter to Snapchat, information is being spread in a matter of seconds. Everything from Spring Break cruises to political activism is posted, liked, and shared before more traditional media can say the word "print." However, social media is evolving--broadening it's bandwidth and exploring goals other than socializing. Social media has established a platform for issues arising all over the world and is demanding a response.
Less than 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced in March of 1968 that the Poor People's Campaign will organize in Washington D.C. demanding human rights equality. Newspapers published articles, radio announcers broadcasted into their microphones, everyone knew in a matter of weeks. Today, as riots break out in Florida, Missouri, and now Maryland, we hear about it in a matter of minutes.
It is human nature to have one of two reactions: fight or flight. As social media grows, each and every voice is given a platform and choosing the latter of the two is enabled enormously. It is up to the public to choose to fight in the face of injustice and resist the urge to remain silent. Political activist Eliezer Wiesel once said, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Trending topics such as #blacklivesmatter and #prayforbaltimore are erupting on the internet, drawing attention beyond the boarders of the state of Maryland. Due to the massive attention and high volume of tweets, photos, and posts, the media has latched on and are spreading messages that range in a variety of support and disapproval.
In a world where you can share both actions and words to people hundreds of miles away is a world where unity as a nation is possible. Instead of allowing the media to tear apart social justice issues, we must use the media to enable each other in support of a greater movement -- to value all lives. We are in this together and we cannot stand for one section of our unified group to be mistreated.