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Opinion – The Three Types of People On Social Media During Racial Protests

Photo by Vlad Tchompalov

As a Black person living in the U.S, I find myself in a difficult position trying to balance my mental health and my involvement in journalism. Things are happening way too fast and acting without thinking or sharing without thinking are not healthier or smarter ways to deal with anything. I took the time to observe the behavior of those on social media before writing this.

We all know that social media has been used a lot for activism. You may use it to support, share news, or simply to show where you stand. You think that sharing posts will help ceasefire or at least prevent innocent people from getting hurt. Read through each profile and see if you fall into any of these categories before your next post. 

Those who share on social media and can’t go to any of the protests

If you can’t go to protests for any reason but decide to share as much information as you can, to keep those around you informed or show where you stand, you most likely fall under this category. You are probably part of the reason why people know about the movement or protest. You share information with your friends and they get a picture of what’s happening.

Something to keep in mind is that you will not change someone with one post and not all information that is out there is real. Some information is partially real. You are not there and you did not see or experience the whole thing. You might be sharing hate and/or misinformation.

Actions speak louder than words or, in this case, sharing posts. There are other ways to share the love and show where you stand with others. Click the link to sign petitions and donate.

Those who went to protests and shared their experience on social media

If you confronted your feelings and decided that you wanted to see a change by going to a protest, you fall under this category. You probably understand that a great part of the protest is unity. If you were standing by yourself it wouldn’t be as effective as having those who share your beliefs stand with you.

Something to remember is that many people want to be there but can’t for one reason or another. When you share your experience, those people can see the protest and share it with others. If you were part of a peaceful protest or you saw it go violent YOU NEED TO SHARE WHAT HAPPENED. Tell your story. Your story may provide a side that the news doesn’t show. 

Reporters will go to the site and report on what they saw. But even though they try, they can’t be everywhere. Also, keep in mind that if reporters arrive when the violence is happening, they can’t report on how or who started it. Share your side of the story and make sure to show all of it in a clean shot. Don’t just share it on your Snapchat, send it to a news outlet. 

Those who don’t share and can’t go to the protest

In situations like this, it is normal to want to say something but not know what to say. Maybe you have a lot to say but don’t know the exact words and are scared of making your statement sound wrong. If you are this person, that is fine! Sharing on social media does help to spread awareness and reach people but there are plenty of people doing it so don’t worry. You can contribute in different ways. You can sign petitions and donate, educate yourself about the topic, and help those close to you. 

Writers note:

If you believe in a higher deity beg for it to keep you safe and for a change. As a Christian, I can only talk from my belief. If you are a Christian it is important to share God’s word, pray for those on the streets, and have compassion in your heart for both protesters and Policemen. Ask God to use you to share with others his love. Be careful and don’t speak from a perspective that you don’t understand.

#protest #socialmediaactivism


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