When the internet, more specifically social media became a means of communication carrying the ability to reach an audience more than a newspaper, radio and television could the world came closer. It opened up two-sided conversations. Such victory coherently altered the history we had known, to connect the world globally.
What makes communication on social media more special is the involvement of its audiences, and a coherent form of communication that moves in any direction, than being strictly lateral and confined. It allows people to reach anyone and anybody they wish to acknowledge. The variety of people you can find is limitless; from celebrities to social workers to old friends. However, with perks follow the disadvantages. It can also threaten the security of netizens.
Today, the internet connection is a human right as mentioned by the United Nations. Causing a lack of it by any government or nation can lead to a violation. Internet is essential, and apparently major leading movements and demands are spread throughout the world through social media platforms.
Spaces like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can ignite a fire to any relevant topic and attract the much-needed attention very quickly. This makes the internet an important influencer of our community. However, have you ever thought about how this social media buzz began in the first place? What are the causes and effects of this medium? And were these movements successful to conquer the initial motives?
Let us take a look at two very important social media movements and try to capture the effect it had.
Alyssa Milano popularised the term #MeToo and soon, women across the globe started using the term via social media to share their experiences of assault. It grew in span across Hollywood, based on allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Together, important celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence and more joined the movement. The struggle stories were shared, and women supported each other to discuss and talk about their abusive experience.
Using this hashtag, not just women in relation to a specific group of people, but a whole community shared their sexually abusive stories.
Later, Bollywood was also hit with the #MeToo movement via Tanushree Dutt who demanded justice. Entertainment companies like AIB (All India Bakc*d) lost their founding members over allegations. It was taken seriously, and action was reached immediately due to a large population looking over, waiting for a response. It was only because of #MeToo that women came together in numbers; not just nationally, but globally.
In the recent events of Kashmir, formulation of new laws and the ultimate declaration of the state being dismantled into two union territories was considered to be undertaken in a very derogatory and disappointing manner. It led to #Kashmir over social media platforms and putting on red profile pictures, people showed support. Even though the situation is still problematic, thousands of people came online to spread their opinions and attempted to educate others by bringing in newer perspectives about national politics. Such details were possible to reach such a widespread population only due to an outlet of social media.
Now, the important question that needs to be answered is, how did changing the profiles red, or using #Kashmir help the scenario? It created a pressure on the government to resolve the problems and started a discussion on alternative methods that could help. This aspect raises awareness and brings in the intellectuals around the world, together.
These two events are very distinct and took place on different timelines. However, they are relevant as they focus on human welfare. It shows how powerful our opinion online can be and informs people to use their voice correctly. Although these two are very recent, the world has witnessed other widespread social media movements that resulted in revolution. This includes the Tunisian revolution, Egyptian Revolution, Syrian Revolution, etc which led to the breakdown of the government.
Social media as a medium today stands behind one of greatest feminist movements and started the conversation to find solutions for the J&K issue, which implies its importance and magnitude of change. These issues are still in jeopardy, but social media spurred these movements and expanded their reach thereby attractive massive attention.