How awareness groups use social media to influence society, and what PR students can learn from it

People have gathered and rallied around thousands of issues since the beginning of modern time. There is something in human nature that drives us to connect with others who have the same values as we do and convince society to think the same. We can see this happen all across our country today with issues ranging from racial equality to political movements.

Just like everything else, social media is changing that.

In the 1930’s, we were moved by FDR’s fireside chats. We gathered in our living rooms and listened to him speak about the changes in our government and what the future held.

In the 1950’s and 60’s we were stirred by Martin Luther King Jr’s call to action. We gathered by the thousands to watch him motivate us with his dream of equality for all americans.

And today, in the 2010’s, we interact with these movements on our computers via social media. Now more than ever, we can spread the word of our efforts and reach far more people. We can recruit others, share information and bring people into the struggle.

For class, I researched a PR campaign that was about spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS. They have an incredible Youtube presence where they share videos of people affected by the disease and other general information. Through their presence, they are able to bring viewers into the life and struggles that these people have to deal with every day. Just by watching a few of them, I felt moved to help, and I clearly understood the message they were trying to get across.

This is a perfect example of how tim

es have changed. Imagine what Martin Luther King Jr’s Youtube or Twitter page would look like if he was alive today. I can imagine that it would do nothing but help him.

From a PR standpoint, we can learn a lot from this. Groups like these have become experts at selling an idea, which is exactly what we will be hired to do someday. They develop a clear, concise message, gather listeners and attempt to sway them in one

direction or another. I would recommend studying some of their tactics and see how you can use them in your internships or jobs.

What groups/ movements have you interacted with via social media? My bet is that everyone reading this has joined or liked at least something. Do you think any of their tactics apply to your job?


2 Responses

  1. Nice post with great insight. Sometimes I think social media is more effective than traditional protesting that we saw in previous decades. It may lack the personal connection, but ideas spread much faster!

  2. I love this post. It would be interesting to see some of the great leaders of different causes with FB and Twitter pages if they were here today. Social media has indeed changed the way we communicate, reach, and move people to act. The Egypt and Libya situations are perfect examples at how social media affects every day life and struggles. Great post 🙂

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