When we are on social media, we always see these inspirational quotes or photos. Usually they are inspiring, informative, or meant to be passed on. I’ve never really given much attention to them. I would look at them, read them, and even strongly agree with a lot of them, and then keep scrolling. They would give me insight to issues I may have in my life or make me consider that other people around me might be going through something and it could relate to them. Usually, an organization or a well-known person on social media posts the photo. These people or organizations want to inform others on this issue or get people to take action. These photos, that I see everyday, are forms of digital activism. Digital activism is using various forms of social media to inform others about a certain issue and sometimes asks for you to take action. This is becoming increasingly popular because we all have some form of connection to social media and information can be spread more quickly.
Looking at a few articles on digital activism, I was amazed at how much I did not know about it. Teens are creating a variety of pages, blogs, channels, etc. to shape public opinion. They post about real issues and often take action to prevent certain issues or promote positive action. When we follow these people or organizations we are called to take the same actions or share the information they put out. Using the digital world is smart because we are all connected. Daily, I see new videos or images someone had posted hours ago from the other side of the world. When people feel strongly about an issue they will help in spreading the word to the world. I do not post much on social media so I would not say I am a big participant in digital activism. I do, however, “like” postings I agree with. Sometimes the social media site will make the posting reappear if enough people “like” it. I am a waitress and I often see photos relating to the job, customers service, and the importance of tipping. I sometimes share the photo with my friends and coworkers just to have a laugh but also so other people can see it and know the issues we face with rude or cheap customers, who can afford an $85 dollar meal but can’t cough up a decent tip. (I am getting off track.)
I had looked at the nominees for the Teen Activist Award and decided to look more into the Buddy Project. The Buddy Project was created to prevent suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders by paring people with a buddy. I had chosen this because I was curious about the idea and mainly because of the prevention of suicide. I unfortunately have had experience with people close to me and wondered what this project could or could have done. A 16 year-old girl, Gabby Frost, started the project in 2013. She had some friends going through some of these issues and almost everyone had said that they were alone. She mainly uses twitter for her project but had expanded to using Instagram and YouTube. I had gone to the Buddy Project twitter page and found many inspiring photos, quotes, and just postings to help anyone who reads them. I followed the twitter page and then had gone to the website, http://www.buddy-project.org/, to find more information on how the system actually worked. I found articles and videos about the creation of the project and about the founder. The site also provides other resources and contacts for people to use, as this is not an alternative to professional help. Frost pairs buddies based on their age and interests. I had begun the sign up process just to see what it consisted of. It requires your name and your twitter account, which I assume you must make before signing up. It also asks that you give three interests from a selected list. Below is only part of the list.
Continuing through the site, I can tell that a teenager runs it. Not in a bad way, it is just noticeable by the tone of writing. I can see how this can be very helpful to other people and it must feel amazing to have someone to talk to who is going through similar issues. I did not feel the need to sign up because I am not going through these issues. I am sure other people sign up just to be a buddy to a person but I feel that it might be better if they could talk to someone who can understand their problem better than I can. I think this project is truly something special and has already helped so many people. Here is where you can find the other nominees of the Teen Activist Award. They are also changing the digital world and I encourage you to look into them as well.
More sites on Digital Activism: