Online Activism

By Adiah Gholston

Activists and organizations have transition their activism from protesting in the streets to educating and advocating on online platforms.

The Virginia Tech student organization United Feminist Movement uses tools such as Instagram infographics to educate and inform people about women’s rights related issues at Virginia Tech. Infographics share a similar design structure to powerpoint or slide shows and aim to give a quick overview on issues.

“People are a lot more into social justice now and resharing all of these stories, so kind of working with that, and keeping that in mind so when I’m making the post and thinking, ‘ okay, which one of these slides in the instagram posts are people going to want to share,’” said Carolina Bell, Treasurer and communication Chair of UFM.

The Academic world has also transitioned their activism to an online format. Various departments leaders within Virginia Tech’s College of liberal Arts and sciences have stepped up to host teach- in’s, informal discussions or series of lectures on a subject of public interest. 

“ I see it as an extension of teaching, said Matthew Gabriele, Chair for the department of Religion and culture. “These types of teach-ins, a type of online activism are just extensions of what we do as scholars and academics.” 

Even though the Department of Religion and Culture has hosted Tech-ins in previous years, hosting Teach-ins through zoom gave them the opportunity to was able to expand their audience.

“We had 250 people attend the teach in, that was of course faculty, student, staff at Virginia Tech, but then we had people from all over the world who somehow heard about it maybe on social media. I don’t really know,” said Gabriele.

Online tools like Instagram infographics and the increasing use of zoom has allowed academic leaders and students to reach broader audiences and present more opportunities to spread their message of justice.