Our new report Plugged In explores the ways in which social action is organised, influenced and encouraged on social media. We wanted to find out how campaigners and social media users feel about the ways social action has been impacted by its increasing digitastion: for better and for worse.
Social action on social media is a picture of contrasts. For those for whom the online world feels like home, they see these platforms as powerful tools for changing the world. Young people we spoke to were overwhelmingly optimistic about the power of social media to change society for the better. It is a tool that can play a part in reshaping the political and social spaces they occupy. Although slightly more cynical, we founder older Brits also broadly agree.
However, we cannot ignore that these tools are not available to everybody. Where platforms have been used to cause harm and to spread hate, they excluded or suppress voices in this country and abroad. Causes online live and die by their ability to navigate these spaces: not everyone is able or willing to do it.
We fear this may contribute to an ‘activism gap’: a world where only the digitally-included are represented and whose vision for society are articulated, and those who are not represented or whose voices are not heard are left powerless. We hope this report serves as a further reminder that platforms must ensure their tools – for all their potential power – are put to good use.
Read Plugged In here.