Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Role of Online Advocacy

Believe it or not, with all the shit going on in this wide weird world of feminism, there are some people still questioning the effectiveness of online campaigns to raise awareness and petition the government for change.

The internet has changed how we do everything. Its changed how we socialize, how we screen employees and even how we meet people. Its changed the world on more than just a superficial social level. Any one who spends any amount of time online can vouch for the wonder that is the online community. If you are an outsider in your hometown, you can find a community online interested in what you're interested in and it's led to some interesting results.

While some people talk about knitting or cooking online other people have found communities that are interested in social and political advocacy. I grew up in the south, there are not that many Bisexual, Socialist, Sex positive feminists just wandering around, so understandably it can be hard to find to people to talk shop with and feel safe doing so. When I found the Youtube Sex Positive Community I found a safe place to talk about a lot of the things that were not safe conversation topics in face to face gatherings at home. My internet journey took a wild left turn and I wound up re-locating because of it, but that's not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is what are we as a community really accomplishing.

Its really hard to tell demonstratively what we are doing. We don't keep statistics on how many people sign the petitions that we promote or how many people phone because of a  video they saw from us. We have no way of performing such tasks. We have not drafted any legislation. And there has been no massive mainstream acceptance of our movement, so as it stands right now there's no real way to know the true effect of our specific movement. But all movements start that way, weather they be online or in the flesh life.

Anyone who's ever been with an organization from the early stages of its forming to the growth into a larger entity knows that no organization starts out as a million man march. Most flesh life advocacy movements start with 3-10 people in a room fed up with things being the way that they are, that 3-10 people with proper organization and motivation can eventually grow into the million man march, but it always starts small, with a small group of people who want to change the world.

I believe that the Sex Positive Community on Youtube is that proverbial 3-10 people in a room who are fed up with the way things are, that room just happens to be located online instead of in a physical place. As a movement we may not reach the number of people that the larger woman's rights movements reach, but its because we are a young movement. But we reach people, people who wouldn't normally hear what we have to say. We bring fresh ideas to the table and we're eager to learn new strategies and collaborate with others. As an advocate I can never disparage anyone who is spreading the word, no matter how they can feasibly do it. Weather its emailing a petition to their entire family, making a youtube video or pounding the pavement handing out fliers and carrying signs. That's more people who will hear about the cause and that's what is important to me.

So the fact that some people have the nerve to disparage other activists for their online advocacy is fucking disgusting to me with the kind of legislation that is coming at women from all angels. We should be using every tool at our disposal to make people aware of these bills that are being debated about. Not claiming that talking about the issues in a youtube video is not going to do anything. Nothing comes of Nothing. I think if you had the chance to make a video on the subject and you didn't you're wrong. Plain and simple. This isn't about interpersonal differences. This isn't about anything but doing everything to make sure that this legislation does not pass. The internet is a valuable tool to that end

Moreover online campaigns have proven effective. A youtube user named Joniversity not too long ago got the Youtube Community in an uproar about the alteration of a UN resolution about executions. The UN has a list of things that are not valid reasons to execute someone and being LGBT was on that list. Several nations got together to remove LGBT from this resolution. Joniversity got a hold of this information and he launched the Human Rights Campaign. The Youtube Community jumped on the opportunity and created these videos:

And guess what happened with the collaboration of so many different groups of people? It fucking worked.

To say that it was JUST the online campaign would be dishonest, but so would saying that the online campaign had no effect at all is just as dishonest. This is but one example of the effects of online advocacy.

Anyone watching the news lately has no doubt seen whats going on in Egypt, Tunisia and a few other counties. Seemingly out of nowhere groups of protesters have mobilized with the aim to get the current leadership to step down. Where did such a dramatic show of activism start you may ask? Well it started on facebook.

Is it any wonder that nations like China and North Korea try to censor the internet for their populations? They know the power of this information.

Anyone remember Wikkileaks? I know the attention span of this nation is like two seconds long and its like a second and a half on youtube, but remember the shitstorm that wikkileaks caused not even two months ago? Many governments are not happy with their dirty secrets being publicized on the internet with no spin. The internet is changing the game in a big way, that's why people like Julian Assange are viewed by people who want to keep the government opaque as such a threat. Wikkileaks was founded on the notion that governments should be transparent. It has opened up the discussions on freedom of information, government transparency, freedom of speech and countless other issues. Governments are afraid of something like Wikkileaks because it forces them to have to answer for their bad behavior and they don't like that. It could one day lead to a more transparent government although for now the jury is still out on that.

As with any civil rights battle, most of the victories do not happen over night. That does not lessen the importance of the contributions made by our movement. We care. We want to help and we are willing to devote our time to these causes. The internet is the new frontier for activism. Its already rapidly changing the game, many are just not aware of how much power this medium can have when used by the right people. So please if you support pro-choice politics help us spread the word. Don't disparage our efforts to change the world.

And if you are just one of those people who wants to disparage and not contribute, then get the fuck out. We don't have time for your immaturity.

Peace, Love and Respect,

Krissy M.

1 comment:

  1. Muchas gracias por visitar mi blog! Eres bienvenida siempre!Felicidades y exitos y Dios te siga llenando de mucha sabiduria . Um saludo afectuoso desde Rio de Janeiro/Brasil.

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