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How is social media influencing politics and lifestyles?

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Social media has a huge role on our lifestyles by promoting information across the world.  As stated by The Statistics Portal, social media is expected to reach 2.95 billion users worldwide around 2020. This obviously is changing the way people are living their life today. It basically makes our lifestyle easier by having a quick access to any information at any certain time. In today’s world it is also an important tool for companies to spread their ideas. Essentially, it is seen as a tool of global communication which enrich us day by day in many different ways. Politically, social media has drastically changed our view in politics since people have a quick access of communication regarding any political figure. People nowadays mainly use social media to have a public opinion on any political event which is great for spreading different points of views which could drastically change what other people think about certain things, and also create laws and modify global policies and human relations. 

It can be argued that social media influences lifestyles and politics, #Blacklivesmatter serves as a pertinent example of this claim. Black lives matter is a political movement that has been going on since 2013. In this movement originating from the African American community within the United States in which people create campaigns to fight against racism and discrimination towards black people. This movement is mainly held in protests in which people are able to communicate their feelings and concerns towards racist threats like police brutality, racial inequality, racial profiling and so on. It all started with the death of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, who were unjustly shot, and people started using the hashtag #black lives matter in which further on, because of other events like this one it became a movement on social media for people to express what they are feeling when unequal events such as the previously mentioned happen. Social media has been the tool where millions of photos, videos, all related to these social activist movements have been spread and this way more people around the world are taking notice of it. I personally think that this hashtag has influenced a lot in regards to our lifestyles and politics. 

As we may all notice, today people on social media criticise anything done wrong by someone in any event. There are certain critics who will argue, using the media, that social media is not efficient to transmit messages and promote social change, however this is slightly hypocritical as they are using social media outlets (for instance, the news, Twitter, so on) to communicate their message. These critics will also argue that 1950’s Black Lives Matter movement was created not by the usage of social media but by simply protesting together amongst many cities in the United States, and argue that activism did not bring about social change just through social media. Critics adopt opinions suggesting “Clicktivism” and laziness is present amongst the net, as some people claim to be social activists just by clicking and retweeting a hashtag. Another external example, in the Oscars, people created a controversy of how no black person or minority was a nominee for that years show. Events like these, show the influence of this hashtag and seeing everything that is happening to people clearly also influences in our lifestyle since now we are able to notice these things because of all of the social media controversies. Additionally, social media also lets us share hashtags and movements to people around the world, and we are able to spread awareness to what is really happening out there. Politically, this hashtag has also affected a lot since it has accomplished political changes and altered political figures’ point of view, an example of this referring back to the impact of #Black lives matter would be influencing democratic points of view and pushing for policy change and sanctions to be taken amongst police who practice brutality against black citizens. A lot of campaigns have been created after this, such as Campaign Zero. I do believe this hashtag has changed the life of black communities since people are more aware of this issue, which is still happening and it is incredible the amount of people that are talking about this in social media, as it is not only a phenomenon in the USA but in the world now. 

The Arab Spring is also an example of how has social media made this information go viral and then created some sort of movement in our society but most importantly in the Arabic world undergoing political turmoil. This revolution is defined as an anti government protest across the Middle East, such as in Bahrain and Egypt. Social media has played an important role during this movement since it facilitated the communication and the different points of view within people and the political figures, and has promoted democracy through the overthrowing of oppressive dictatorships in these remote areas. Without these digital tools (Facebook, Twitter) people wouldn’t be informed as they did during this time and these significant changes would’ve not occurred. Governments in these countries equally value the impact of social media as during this time, local news TV was spreading propaganda messages and the censorship of the media was present. Apart from all of this social media was an important tool for young activists to have freedom of expression and speech, and also the inform to the outside world of what was happening. 

Many of the organisations from the Arab spring were organised by activists using social media to protest in hope a better future, and all of these protest wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Twitter and Facebook. It is incredible how people used this as a tool for survival. People were no longer threatened by the government’s authority and  they had their own opinion and statements published on the web for people worldwide to see. The government didn’t see the action-potential of this tool but people have used it efficiently to reverse corruption in the Middle East. Of course, later on this caused problems for example in Egypt were people were arrested for organising activist and anti-government events and stirring unrest on social media. People should still have the basic right to protest peacefully as they are seeking a positive change. 

Finally, social media has created a big difference towards plenty of lifestyles and political movements and without this tool our world would not be the same. I believe it is an important tool we could use for good, like sharing what is happening for people to notice and make a change. It also helps people on sharing their opinions and having freedom of speech in regards to what they believe in. Social media is improving our lives for countless reasons and I believe we should keep on using it for all of these social activism movements, and keep ourselves informed and in touch with everyone around the world. 

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