Freshman+Ava+Roots+browses+her+Instagram+feed.+Every+day+over+a+million+stories+are+uploaded.

Photo by Lucas Polucha

Freshman Ava Roots browses her Instagram feed. Every day over a million stories are uploaded.

Instagram organizes change

January 7, 2020

With modern society fixated on the trends of social media, few platforms can exercise the influence of Instagram, who with over a billion active users is second only to Facebook. As Instagram’s popularity rises, activists have taken advantage of its audience to spread information and promote change.

Some of the most common topics are climate change and equality. These issues, more popular with young adults and teenagers, reflect Instagram’s demographic, with over 71 percent of users being under the age of 35.

The primary attraction for activists on Instagram is efficiency. Facts can be quickly and easily distributed. Emma Bourne, junior and climate change activist, said Instagram provides “really easy ways to disperse information” because “you just have so many people that you can reach.”

Many activists prefer to share posts made by other users on their story in order to create awareness. According to Brendon Rich, a sophomore LGBTQ+ advocate, spreading coverage of the same post amplifies the message, increasing exposure and attention, while also making the process even easier.

By not having to create original content, students are able to use Instagram to express themselves and make an impact without investing huge quantities of time and effort needed for schoolwork or jobs.

You’re showing your support for that issue by reposting their words and language and acknowledging them on what they said.”

— Brendon Rich

Sharing posts helps the original creator of the post spread awareness.

“You’re showing your support for that issue by reposting their words and language and acknowledging them on what they said” Bourne said.

Instagram empowers students to act by granting them the ability to take a stance on issues that directly affect their lives.

“I post political stuff on Instagram, to make sure that I get my point across,” said Rich, “especially when concerning matters that are important to me, such as my identity,”

Another major benefit of social media platforms includes the guarantee of an audience. Users can count on their followers to see and respond to content posted.

“You know people will see it, and there’s some reward in doing that,” English teacher Paul Wieland said.

Instagram provides countless other benefits, such as anonymity through the use of usernames and a platform for movements to publicize events.

The ease of sharing political content has created fears of slacktivism. Slacktivism occurs when passionate individuals chose to like, share or create a post on social media, but do not take further action. This is usually due to a perception relating little to nothing more they can help, which is often incorrect.

Despite issues like climate change gaining extensive coverage on Instagram, “[online] activism is only so effective and if you really are passionate about an issue you should actually in your day to day life make an effort to do more,” Bourne explained.

It is essential to “support what you’re saying rather than just stating the facts,” she added.

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