Activism on the internet has a long history. Before the era of social media, the medium for civic activism and campaigning was by email and on various online forums.
In 2020, campaigning and activism is easier than in the 1990s and has become part of our daily lives. Social media has also become a way to get organised. However, activism taking place on social media also has a flip side. The information overload that people face every day is so vast and diverse that individual campaigns often get lost in the abundance.
Digital media is increasingly being used to support a change within society.
Digital activism has given birth to fairly negative-sounding concepts like slacktivism, clicktivism and hacktivism. Even though these terms are dismissive words, the phenomena behind them are just about to reach their full potential.
Digital media is increasingly being used to support a change within society. For example, in organising events during the Arab spring, social media already played a major role.
As another example, the #metoo campaign that started in 2017 has to this day resulted in much debate about and even some legal actions against gender-based discrimination and violence globally. This campaign gained significant momentum when celebrities joined it.
The information overload that people face every day is so vast and diverse that individual campaigns often get lost in the abundance.
To help in the understanding of this, Amnesty International has published an activism guide [https://www.amnestyusa.org/activism-guide/], which anyone can use to start a campaign to support human rights and increase awareness of human rights violations. The guidebook also gives advice on how to execute campaigning to reach as many people as effectively as possible. There are also websites offering tools to create public petitions, which can be initiated by anyone.
Activism in itself can of course be bad or good in nature. Hate speech campaigns, hacking and spreading private information may also be classed as web or social media activism.