As we’ve seen throughout the posts, social media can be a highly effective tool for sharing information and evidence instantly. However in terms of the organisation of political movements and pressure groups we know that it can be done without the need for social networking sites, that have the ability to rob us of our privacy. In my opinion Facebook and Youtube are the most necessary social media sites, as there is no text limit and videos are predominantly shared freely, providing there is no copyright infringement. Twitter is useful for connecting to people, however when talking about a complicated subject, it is hard to get a clear message across in such a short amount characters, so this has an effect on the readability. Once again it is just as good at sharing videos and links to other articles. One theme that kept appearing in the posts is how necessary social media was in helping to form social change. Many people before the digital age inspired vast amounts of people by spreading the message using word of mouth. Many great people have inspired society to change its ways, by travelling and teaching and we’re going to explore how Marcus Garvey influenced millions of black people to have pride in themselves and their culture.
Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica in 1887, and eventually moved to America where he witnessed the vast inequality in ‘the American dream’. Garvey would not stand for the injustice and began to spread the word to black communities wherever he travelled or lived. Wherever he went he saw evidence of systematic abuse restricting racial groups’ freedom, and he noticed that it was impacting largely on people’s self belief. Underfunded communities meant a lack in education and employment, which lead to a cycle of crime and poverty.
Garvey began to preach black pride to his fellow citizens in Harlem after establishing a headquarters at United Negro Independence Association (UNIA) in New York in 1917. This organisation would lead parades and protests raising awareness of social inequality between racial communities. In 1919 he purchased an auditorium in Harlem, where he held nightly meetings, continuing to spread his message. He claimed he had six million followers, and although some people dispute that it was ever that amount, there is no doubt it was in the millions. When you stop and consider how successful Garvey was at inspiring people to believe in their true power, without the aid of Facebook or Twitter, it is incredible. Like many alongside him, Garvey incited social change spreading his message through word of mouth. His powerful words would echo through the minds of his followers who would then spread that message to people they wanted to empower. Basically it all derives from a positive instinct to share information.
Before the digital age, people had to try and inspire people immediately, using their way with words. With the introduction of social media, it means nowadays we can compile large amounts of evidence to show other cultural groups certain problems in society. This is then continuously shared onto our newsfeed if the problem is one that society deems worthy of trying to solve. The question is do we really have the free thinking to actively seek social change? These problems nearly always challenge a dominant ideology in our society, so it’s necessary to speak up to try and educate your peers.
The best advice is to be active with any passions for change you might have. Read and watch different sources of information from different political and cultural backgrounds, to gain freedom of thought. Social media helps raise awareness but as a society we need to be active in our intake and distribution of truthful knowledge. If there is something that needs changing in order to help people or our environment, then we need to take an active approach to changing that problem. The best way to use social media is try and access knowledge from different platforms, but use social media as the tool to share that message with evidence.
Overall social media is a complicated platform. It appears that it depends how passively you accept you the ideologies presented to you, depends on how much you will be able to use social media for change. I believe that social media definitely has the ability to empower social change, but other forms of communication should not be undermined. Social change can happen without the aid of digital communication, and it still does. The end result is about sharing information, so whatever methods used are valuable in terms of spreading a message.
Provided is a biography of Marcus Garvey’s work. There are many documentaries available on Youtube as well. http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/twenty/tkeyinfo/garvey.htm