Social media has provided a digital meetinghouse for millions to join globally. It has given concerned citizens a space to voice their opinions about the injustices in their countries and to lobby others to support a cause that wouldn’t have received such attention without the masses behind it.
Like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movement, Trayvon’s story has sparked several rallies and protests around the nation. Videos titled #MillionHoodies have gone viral on Twitter, prompting a Million Hoodie March in New York City on Wednesday.
As a journalist, it’s second nature for me to be immersed in news, but for my 10-year-old brother, YouTube and Facebook are his news sources. And that, also, worries me.
Social media may be easily accessible and connecting, but we must be careful about its trustworthiness. Facts can be misconstrued, wrong, or just plain missing.
I learned an essential lesson about this after speaking to several Ugandans – via social media and at a local restaurant – about the recent Kony 2012 campaign. They said that the subject of the video, the violent warlord Joseph Kony, was a man of the past and no longer attacking northern Uganda (though he is at large and operating elsewhere in Africa).