Does social networking lead to “real” activism? Gladwell’s answer is no. It sounds relatively radical owing to the fact that a lot of social activism has been successful recently. My answer is 50% yes, and 50% no. They are complementing each other. I’ll explain it in the followings, but it would sound less radical and more acceptable than Gladwell’s.
In my view, social media or social networking itself cannot make any impact and activism. Imagine how can trivial chatting on social media change the world? Obviously not. It’s impossible. Message especially tugging at your heartstrings are indispensable part of real activism. Any kinds of hollow activism without core messages result in failure. Where do these core messages come from? As a matter of course they never come out of nowhere. A meeting by a small tight-knit group of people is a very effective way of creating such core ideas. I found a very good exemplar, Impact Hub.
According to their website, they are targeting to give impact to the world saying “We believe a better world is created through the combined accomplishments of compassionate, creative, and committed individuals focused on a common purpose. Part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community centre, we offer our members a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow impact. Joining our diverse community of members and collaborators will inspire, connect, and enable you to develop your best work every step of the way.” Here people who aspire to change the world meet each other and foster their ideas and get ready for the real change. But it’s not enough for impact. Obviously only a small number of people cannot make a big change nevertheless.
Social media is a great tool of getting more and more people involved. Real change needs a core message. On the other hand, real change needs a great deal of participants as well. Through Facebook or Twitter, they can ask to join the movement. Of course Impact Hub is using social media effectively since I knew this gathering on Facebook. They are making a great harmony. That’s why I answered to the first question, 50% YES and 50% NO.