We all know the struggle. You want to be a Guevaresque revolutionary, but just haven’t the motivation to take up guerilla warfare in the jungle. I get it. Humidity makes your hair frizzy, mosquitoes like you more than you like them, you’ve never been big on bathing in piranha-infested waters, and to top it all off, you can’t grill a tarantula to save your life. Well, lucky for you in our new era of information technology you can have almost as much impact, although not nearly as much angst, without leaving the comfort of your computer screen. AK-47s are completely optional, in the age of the Online Revolutionary.
First make the decision to care. Apathy is a revolutionary’s greatest opponent, whether that revolutionary is active in the jungle or in the office chair. This doesn’t mean that you’ve got to spend the next three days awake doing everything in your power to end child poverty. I’m sure poor children would appreciate that, but I’m willing to cut you some slack. Just this once. Instead, realize that everyone needs downtime, and that it’s a matter of steadily increasing the amount of time that you dedicate towards initiatives that you want to see prosper. Slowly cut down the amount of time that you spend watching videos of children burping the alphabet, and slowly increase the amount of time you spend becoming informed about social issues.
It’s easy to be apathetic online. It’s easy to skip past the petitions and the articles, those pages which you pass by as they beg you for a mere moment of time. It’s important to ignore that impulse towards ease. Instead, try to engage with as much of the socially conscious material as possible. This won’t be as fun as browsing ‘top fails’ on youtube. At first, you’ll have to force yourself to read, but realistically, you don’t need to do much at this stage in the process. Simply becoming aware of new viewpoints and areas of our world which require work will engender thought processes in you that encourage you to become more socially active; as you realize how much needs doing out there.
Read something that resonates with you? Give it a like or a share. Most socially conscious organizations struggle for publicity; they desperately invest in advertising in order to catch a moment of your attention, and the power of your sharing an article is incredibly significant. Besides providing exposure for the group who you are supporting, you’re also encouraging a new manner of using social networks. As your friends begin to notice what you’re doing perhaps they’ll realize that they can help in a similar manner. Soon you’ll all be sending links back and forth, discussing how best to maximize your impact as a group. At least I hope you will.
The final step of the Online Revolutionary process comes down to everyday decisions, and these can be made on and/or offline. When you grocery shop, realize where the palm oil in your products is coming from, and maybe pay the extra fifty cents for rainforest certification if you can afford it. When you vote, realize which candidate is going to influence the issues you care most about, and choose them. When you happen across petitions that you agree with, sign them. Let the world know that you’re taking a firm stand in a certain direction.
Don’t be afraid to demonstrate how much you care. You get points for trying. You get points for working. Anyone who mocks you or drifts away from you is not someone you want to be around anyway. The most important thing in this whole process is awareness, once you’ve got enough of it you won’t be able to help spreading it to others. Once you’re aware enough you won’t be able to help spending that extra fifty cents for the rainforests, and neither will your friends. You don’t need to be an AK-47 toting Guaveresque guerilla revolutionary, to have an impact on the jungles.
Written by Marcomms Intern, Jack Seaberry.