My Story: Learning How to Use Social Media Appropriately for Activism

By Saniya Ghanoui —

MB talks about how helpful social media can be for activism, but she also mentions a few negative impacts it may have.


OBOS Today: Yeah, I was also wondering how do you think social media can be used as a tool for activism, or for change like, many people often people feel that posting isn’t enough but we’ve seen a lot of change come out of social media movements like Black Lives Matter started to, as a social media movement and then it grew into something way bigger and led to so many different changes so could, do you have any opinion there or any knowledge there that you could shed on how social media movements can, you know, change policy or implement, like affect policy changes? 

MB: Yeah. That’s, I’ve had so many conversations about this actually.  

OBOS Today: Yeah [laughs]. 

MB: Um, I think that social media is exactly what you said, it’s a tool, not necessarily the only tool we should be using. So, I think that right now what connects with people our age are, you know, stories or infographics or things like that so that’s how we get a lot of our initial news and I think that’s a good thing, spreading awareness is holistically a good thing. But I think that so often um people think that that is where their activism stops, you know? 

OBOS Today: Mmhmm. 

MB: Or like I reposted my black square, you know? Check. [laughs] But, you know, that conversation’s been had, you know, I think that we’ve kind of run the gamut on that but I think that one conversation that we’ve had really, you know, recently is how sometimes the stories that we post, you know, whether it’s about the situation that happened in London or like most recently with the violence against Asian-Americans, like sometimes they can be almost retraumatizing for people within those groups, right? So, like one of my Korean-American friends was talking to me and she was like I feel like I can’t go on social media without seeing you know, an Asian person brutalized [laughs] or like, reading slurs for Asian Americans, like who does that help, you know? So, I think that being a little bit more like choosey or like specific about what you’re posting, is this informational and if it’s something that might be triggering, put in that before you put something on your story.  

OBOS Today: Mmhmm.  

MB: So, I think that it’s a, it’s a really good tool but again, there’s other ways that we can mobilize but also, it can also be harmful to the people you’re trying to help with your stories is something also to consider.