We Interviewed an Instagram Activist

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Social media is everywhere. And when it comes to navigating this ever-evolving way to communicate, we the youth are undeniably the savviest! Since social media first came on the scene, young people have harnessed its power to organize, raise awareness, have important conversations, and advocate for what we believe.

We interviewed Amelia, a youth social media activist, to understand how she uses the platform as a tool for advocacy.

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Could you tell us a little bit about your account?

My instagram account is called @teenageactivistt and I post about topics like LGBTQ+ rights, feminism, racism and mental health.

Why and when did you start this account?

I started this account in early 2018 because I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously. When young people talk about social issues we often aren’t listened to, so creating this account allowed me to talk about social issues without people prematurely judging my knowledge on said subjects based on my age.

What is your goal for your activism?

The goal of my activism is to make people care about the issues I care about. I try to bring awareness to events happening in the world.

What is the hardest part about managing your account?

I think the hardest part is that some people forget that there is a real person behind this instagram account. I make mistakes like any human and while I try to do my own research my word shouldn’t be taken as a fact. If you see that I’ve made a mistake, tell me. I love getting feedback on how to improve my activism and make it more intersectional!

How can social media be a tool for activism?

Social media can be a tool for activism in a way that is hard to match offline. So many people have instagram nowadays. As the amount of people who have social media is growing, the amount of people who care about human rights issues is growing because to a certain extent if you have any type of social media, you will be exposed to current issues. Someone sees a post about what is happening in Sudan and they share it. Then another person sees it and shares it and then another. Social media is great in that sense that it’s able to spread information quickly. Even when journalists and news outlets aren’t covering what’s happening somewhere, there are tons accounts posting about it. And when you know about it you can do something about it.

What do you think everyone should know about social media activism?

Everyone should know that social media activism is its own type of valid activism. There are people that criticize social media activism without knowing the real impact it has. Some instagram activists have hundreds of thousands of follows.

What do you think is the best thing about social media?

The best thing about social media is that while it may be regarded as useless it’s one of the easiest ways to stay informed on current events. Like I mentioned earlier, information can be spread fast on social media and if I see that something important is happening somewhere I can post something about it and already thousands can see it.

What do you think is the worst thing about social media? 

I think the worst thing about social media is that everything you see on your explore page or feed is what you want to see. If all you want to see is about feminism that’s all you’ll see. You won’t see anything that goes against your beliefs or challenges your point of view. Another unpleasant thing is how easy it is for false information to spread on social media. Everyone should be critical of the information they spread and make sure it is correct. If you ever find out you’ve been spreading false information, you should go back and correct it.

Why is it important for young people to be activists?

It’s important for young people to be activists because there are so many current issues that will affect us in the future if we do nothing about them. If older generations won’t do anything about issues like climate change it’s up to us to make sure that we do everything in our power to stop what we still can. Even if it’s as small as eating less meat.

If you want to hear more about this topic! Check out our very first episode where we dive into the power of social media.

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you feel that social media is an effective tool for activism?
  • What are some other pros/cons to social media?
  • Have you ever used social media for activism? How did it go?
  • Do you agree that social media can keep us from seeing and understanding different perspectives?
  • How do you fact-check what you find online?
  • How could you move from creating awareness through social media to taking action on an issue?