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Illustration by Alya Al Zaabi

Click for Change: How Social Media Can Be a Force for Good

Despite its negative connotations in today's world, social media is responsible for spreading hope, support, and solidarity.

Mar 6, 2023

A video posted on TikTok by a daughter of a full-time attorney part-time writer, hoping to boost sales of his book made headlines a couple of weeks ago. This 16 second clip with the message: “I'd love for him to get some sales," made Lloyd Richards’ book rank number one on Amazon in just a matter of hours.
Social media has transformed the way we communicate, share information, and connect with others. From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, these platforms have become powerful tools for individuals and organizations to make their voices heard and drive change in the world. If something like a 16 second video can turn someone’s life around for the better, then the things social media can do are unfathomable.
We live in an era where it is much easier to use social media for spewing hate speech, enabling division, or inciting violence rather than making a positive impact. There have been constant reports of cyberbullying cases over the years. Another example is the spread of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, false information about the virus and the efficacy of vaccines circulated rapidly on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This led to confusion and distrust in public health measures and contributed to the ongoing propagation of the virus.
That begs the question — can social media really be used for good?
One of the most powerful examples of social media being used for good is the #MeToo movement. Initially created by activist Tarana Burke in 2017, the movement went viral after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet." Within 24 hours, the hashtag had been tweeted over half a million times, and it quickly became a global movement, with women (and men) sharing their stories and demanding change.
The impact of the #MeToo movement has been significant, leading to increased awareness about sexual harassment and assault, changes in laws and policies, as well as the downfall of powerful individuals who had long been protected by their status and influence. Without the power of social media to amplify their voices and stories, it is unlikely that the movement would have had such a profound impact.
Another example of social media being used for good is the Black Lives Matter movement. Started in 2013 in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the movement gained momentum in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Social media platforms were used to organize protests, share information about police brutality and systemic racism, and demand accountability from those in power.
The impact of the Black Lives Matter movement has been crucial, leading to changes in laws and policies, increased awareness about systemic racism and police brutality, and a shift in public opinion. While there is still much work to be done, the power of social media to bring attention to these issues and mobilize people for change cannot be underestimated.
Social media has also been used to promote environmental activism and raise awareness about climate change. For example, the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, started by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, has been used to organize global climate strikes and raise awareness about the urgent need for action on climate change. Thunberg and other students across the world argue that politicians and decision-makers have a responsibility to take bold action to mitigate the effects of climate change and prevent its worst impacts. The movement has been credited with raising awareness about the urgent need to address climate change and has helped to mobilize millions of people around the world to demand action. It has put pressure on governments and corporations to take action on climate change, with many countries and companies making commitments to reduce their carbon emissions and transition to renewable energy.
In 2020, the youth-led Sunrise Movement used social media to organize protests and demand action on climate change, leading to the introduction of the Green New Deal in the U.S. Congress. The Green New Deal, a sweeping proposal to address climate change by transitioning to renewable energy, creating good jobs, and investing in communities that have been most impacted by climate change. The Green New Deal has been championed by many politicians, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who has worked closely with the Sunrise Movement to advance the proposal.
While it is often criticized for spreading misinformation and promoting negativity, social media has also been used to effect real change and spread messages of hope, support, and solidarity. Using social media effectively entails taking some responsibility for how you use it. Geopolitical boundaries should not limit people's awareness of its effects, and there is still no strong legal system in place to hold those who misuse social media accountable.
Stefan Mitikj is Managing Editor. Email him at
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