These days it feels like there are so many things to become a champion for – climate change, gun control, human rights and women’s rights, just to name a few. While activism is nothing new to our society (people have been standing up for their beliefs long before the modern day yard sign), what is new in the last decade or so, is social media activism.
You most likely already have an account on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, you probably even have an account on one of the other five types of social media platforms like Pinterest, Digg, Tumblr or even Kickstarter. And what do all of these have in common? They all connect people from around the globe and provide space for commentary.
Just like in real life social situations, social media threads can be supportive and stressful. Remember the 2014 ice bucket challenge? Over 17 million people participated to raise awareness for ALS and the ALS Association raised over $115 million dollars that summer alone! Demonstrating just how supportive our virtual communities can be!
Of course there’s a flip side. Cyberbullying, trolls, cyberstalking, impersonating, denigration, flaming, all of these terms can be used to describe social behavior online today. In fact if you use Facebook with any regularity you’ve probably already blocked someone or witnessed trolling.
With access to virtual soap boxes so readily available, it’s time we talk about the need for mental health champions in our virtual worlds!