Like many of my fellow classmates here, I too acknowledge that I am a digital native. I have a difficult time thinking about what I did with my time when I was younger, you know, the  pre-internet days. My memories only go as far back to when we had dial-up in our house. I remember my mom telling me to stop using the computer so that she could make a call. Good times, right?

I thought this week’s article was especially interesting. As an avid social media user, I constantly see social good campaigns online. Use this hashtag or do this dare and donate. The internet has become a place for social awareness for today’s youth. It’s difficult to get the word out without the internet, in my opinion. As mentioned by authors Shah and Abraham in Digital Natives With A Cause?, “…Digital Natives no longer want to be ‘subjects’ of inquiry and research. With an aesthetic of playfulness, irreverence, and a collation of the terrains of the cultural and the political, Digital Natives have often demonstrated their new aesthetics of political participation, cultural consumption and social transformation.” I do believe that digital natives use the internet as a way to promote social good. And though I agree that slacktivism exists, I think the power that the internet has brought us has truly sparked more political or social involvement awareness.

One of the most recent and interesting campaigns I have seen is the #HeforShe campaign by UN Women. They called for men to participate and proclaim their support for gender equality. But I believe that the most important part of this campaign, is actress Emma Watson’s speech back in September. She became the face for this campaign, and I believe it is her influence that made the video of her speech be viewed more than 1 million times. It’s what news publications were sharing all over the internet. Because she is a young woman with influence, it inspired other young people all over the world to care. Thanks to the internet, it helped get her message out. I can’t even begin to explain how many times I saw her video and young people supporting her message online. Emma gave another speech that told about the success of the campaign after her speech in September. It just shows that it isn’t uncommon for digital natives to make some difference online.

3 thoughts on “#HeForShe

  1. christineholland

    I agree that the Internet opens up the opportunity for a particular cause to reach a huge audience. I think it’s unfortunate that people who share particular articles, videos, or other forms of awareness on social media receive criticism for their “slacktivism” for “not really doing anything.” I think raising awareness is a huge part of advancing a cause–there’s a whole industry called advertising that raises awareness for a particular good or service, and for those haters who didn’t know, it’s kind of a big deal. A social cause needs the same kind of exposure to people to make a wide impact on society. What would the “slacktivists” be doing if they weren’t sharing information about a cause they have learned about and now care about? They would probably be doing nothing to help the cause. They may not have even learned about it in the first place. Not everyone can be expected to go out and be the next huge philanthropist of our generation. Something is better than nothing, because awareness is the thing that can lead to action. Ignorance does nothing.

  2. ShanyaNorman

    I, too, remember the times of dial-up Internet on my dinosaur of a computer and having to get off when my parents needed to use the phone. It’s crazy to think how online access has changed so much now that we can literally have it at the tip of our fingers on our phone. I am a pretty active social media user too, just like most other college students. I do understand the critiques of “slacktivism” and the like, but I agree with you that it’s at least creating awareness. The Internet is such a powerful, permeating force in people’s life today, and using it to advance causes to benefit the greater good is something that should be emphasized. People may not be physically doing something to better the cause when they retweet stories or participate in a certain hashtag, but at least they know what’s going on and they are sympathizing/spreading the cause by doing so. To me, that’s better than nothing!

  3. bhesslegrave

    The example of #heforshe also brings up the issue of slacktivism. We talked about emma watsons role in the campaign in a gender class last quarter. My professor didn’t know who emma Watson was and no one could explain why or how she came to be an ambassador for the campaign. Yes, we know her as a “girl power” character as Hermoine, but I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head that would appoint her as the face of this campaign. Maybe she has done work for gender equality in the past – but neither I nor my classmates knew about it. What we see is a famous, beautiful face speaking for a cause. We might associate her as a strong woman, and therefore the obvious choice for the face of the campaign. Maybe emma Watson is a feminist, but the campaign sea to capitalize on the cult of fame, youth, and beauty.

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