Culture Hack

A Social Revolution

Over the last decade, social media has served as a catalyst for change, leading to a much-needed social revolution. Moreover, it has never lost its importance in serving as a megaphone to voices beyond the latest makeup tutorial, slim tea, or influencer-sold waist trainer. 

I like many, have watched people fight for their rights and the equalities they deserve during the Arab Spring, Hong Kong protests, Palestinian Rights, Black Lives Matter, and most recently, the uprising in Iran that was ignited by the untimely passing of Mahsa Amin and many others.

.Over time social media has provided an exemplary support system to spread messaging, enable connection, and providing a uniform approach to fighting oppression. However, with every cause, there is an effect, and governments are stepping in and finding ways to suppress these voices in backlash to their approach.

This has become an increasing concern as blocked communications inside and outside countries like Iran have become a norm. In hopes that this barrier prevents ideas from being exchanged, governments are finding new ways to oppress. And although platforms such as Clubhouse have been able to circumvent these barriers, that is not the case for all platforms. For example, Meta was complicit in removing posts seen as spam and blocking usage (in addition to the government cutting off the internet).

Which raises the question, is social media effective enough to enable mass change? And where can platforms and the brands that serve them step up further to empower these voices?

Is the solution brands such as Elon Musk’s Starlink that proposed using its satellites for  Iranians to have internet? Or providing pressure for platforms like Meta to equip their engineering teams to serve diverse audiences better and offer a streamlined approach that enables social users to have direct lines of communication. All so that activists can have an effective way of spreading a message whilst avoiding harm.

The truth is it should no longer be just on a social user to activate the push for change. Instead, platforms like Meta, Twitter, and even Tik Tok are responsible for supporting the social users they leverage to sell brand experiences. Because as people evolve, so should the platforms that serve them.

-W. Sky Downing