The article I chose to respond to was titled: Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online.
I only just learned about the term Digital Citizenship through this course. Our discussion in class totally caught my interest. By nature, I am an advocate for those who are disadvantaged in our society. I naturally tend to cheer for the “underdog”, and have compassion for those less privileged. So when I learned about digital citizenship, I was intrigued. Previously, I tended to only see the negative side to social media. I would read comments under news articles and get angry over the harassment and bullying that some people would receive online. I viewed social media as a toxic space that tended to breed narcissism and make it easier for bullies to bully the vulnerable. However, after reading this article, I started to reflect at the positives of social media.
“social media creates opportunities for connecting as global citizens on a day-to-day and even moment-to-moment and public basis that were not present beforehand.”
One huge advantage to social media is that it can become a platform to raise awareness on global issues that would rarely be talked about in the traditional media. As the quote above says, it “creates opportunities for connecting as global citizens” It allows for the opportunity to actually get to know people that we wouldn’t normally get to know living in our small space in this world. It allows us to take a glimpse into other cultures and spaces in this world that may be different then our own. But most of all, it allows us to see that although we may have different cultures, religion, etc. We are all much more alike then we are different. Social media allows us to be more connected on a human level, and for that reason, it can make us a better, more compassionate people.
The author of the article, raised an interesting question:
“Can digital spaces such as social media help promote empathy and social justice instead of sensationalism, hatred and extremism?”
As I reflected on that, I thought about how social media has changed me over the past couple of years. I have found myself sincerely grieving over the horrific terrorist attacks that have happened in France recently, or the devastating war in Syria that’s displaced millions of people. Through digital world, I have recently learned about #blacklivesmatter and my eyes have been opened to the inequalities that are STILL happening among us humans. I thought about the blogs that I’ve read about recognizing privilege, and how that’s helped me to identify and be aware of my own privileges that I enjoy that I have previously taken for granted. I thought about how social media has helped to raise awareness to the rape culture that is still so prevalent in our world.
It wasn’t until I read this article, that I realized that for me- social media HAS helped to expand my empathy and promote justice. Now the question is, what can I do to contribute to that and help fight against the hatred and bullying that also exists online?