Technology inspires social change: the 21st century, a perspective
The prominence of technology in the life of the millennial person remains noteworthy. With the introduction of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, to name a few, there are countless platforms for global interaction. From cross-national marketing campaigns to community events, social media has established a benchmark by which information travels across the World Wide Web. It’s safe to say that these podiums have been subject to life-altering events over the course of the past few years. Both governments and NGOs have launched campaigns and ideas on social media to raise awareness and overturn public reactions. The way that effective social media has taken generic populations by storm is truly revolutionary. Technology has provided the unprecedented majority with the opportunity to voice their concerns about issues affecting health, lifestyle and the environment.
We have all heard of or participated in viral campaigns on social media that have been the driving forces behind creating a better world. Social media aims at positive reform at the roots of society by creating evocative responses from the public. We are now more capable of cumulative change than we were twenty years ago. Whether it’s to enhance a brand image or raise funds for a social cause, social media has done it all. These efforts have impacted billions around the world.
The dawn of the 21st century could not be more optimistic for those who want to make a difference in the world. Here are the success stories of cases where technology inspired social change. This is how social causes went viral in popular media to inspire successful impact, changing lives by generating a uniqueness in consciousness amid diversity.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:
Lou Gehrig’s disease, called ALS, is a condition that affects nerve cells, the brain and causes drastic consequences for those affected. In August 2014, the ALS Ice Cube Challenge went viral on social media to promote awareness of research on ALS, a disease with no cure. The challenges required people to film and post a video of pouring cold water on their heads and nominating others to accept the challenge within a 24-hour window. With celebrities and notable officials participating in the challenge, it was only a matter of time before nearly 20 million videos went viral on social media, contributing to the cause. Bill Gates and Geroge W. Bush were among those who brought the ALS Ice Cube Challenge to social media. The response to the campaign favorably increased over $ 115 million for ALS research, showing the compassion humanity can pursue to help those seriously affected. In addition to raising awareness of ALS, social media served as a stage to aid in the investigation while also creating a sense of unity.
#WaterIsLife presented the #FirstWorldProblems campaign for clean water:
Water is Life, a non-profit organization aims to bring clean water to less developed and developing nations. Started in 2007, today they have helped bring clean water to people living in remote villages around the world. By emphasizing the different approaches people take to having clean water, with the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems, Water is Life managed to capture the hearts of millions. Social media played a vital role in bringing their incentive across the global platform, eventually raising awareness of clean water and sparking action to ameliorate the water crisis facing the world. With the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems, when people raised concerns about minor inconveniences, they responded with life-threatening realities faced by many people in other parts of the world. Raising millions of dollars, Water is Life is the perfect example of the prominence of technology when it comes to positive change.
At the peak of 2016, the internet went wild over Mannequin challenge videos going viral. The posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram featured an internet video trend where people seemed motionless, usually with Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” playing in the background. The challenge received worldwide acclaim as prominent athletes and celebrities participated by creating videos to accompany the popular #MannequinChallenge. More recently, as part of the feature film “Black in Blue,” footage of these still videos were shot, shedding light on the “Black Lives Matter” campaign targeting racial prejudice. This powerful campaign surely remains one of the most creative viral social media challenges to date.
Many people face challenges with sexual orientation and commonly when it comes to love. LGBT rights have been the subject of debate for centuries, often with unfavorable results. The Love Wins campaign that went viral on the web was a show of acceptance, celebrating the laws passed to recognize LGBT rights in several countries. As ongoing protests pave the way for equal rights in some of the other countries, this campaign is a stepping stone that emphasizes love and freedom. By embracing free thinking, #LoveWins is an expression of freedom of choice. With many attractive filters and tweaks on social media, the campaign picked up the pace to celebrate the triumph of love over bureaucracy.
The words “me too” are fresh in our memory as we enter 2018. As a silence breaker against sexual harassment, the #MeToo campaign has taken social media by storm. Celebrities have joined the social cause to promote awareness and take a stand against sexual harassment and prejudice globally. With millions of people seizing the occasion and voicing their stories about the damage of gender inequality, the campaign set the media world on fire. Conveying the magnitude of sexual prejudice, the social cause is trending on all social networking sites. Starting as a hashtag, the campaign has grown into a rallying cry against sexual harassment that exposes offenders and instills new confidence in victims. Public figures from around the world have honored the noble intentions of this controversial campaign and have expressed concern. More recently, with Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, she shook the world with harsh words against sexual prejudice, equal pay, honoring the strength of a woman. The campaign has served to speak out to millions and has helped transform hardened ideologies into industries that turn a blind eye to sexual prejudice.
Once again, social media has penetrated the minds of the population, fostering change and expressing genuine concerns. Ignorance can no longer be justified by the statement “I was not conscious.” United by the common ideals of love and humanity, technology continues to inspire social change. Even if reality gets harsher, there will be a ray of hope that reveals the powerful human efforts that restore hope.