Have you ever been a member of a social movement? Yes? Good. If no, I’ll rephrase the question for you. Have you ever joined a social movement? Still no? Chances are that you’re wrong. Maybe you just don’t remember. Or maybe you joined a social movement without even knowing. But where are the boundaries of activism in these days?
Social media platforms are a great possibility for people with certain interest to find each other online. With a simple hashtag, social movement can grow, and users and activists can easily find each other and share news and experiences. For example, during the Arabic spring a hashtag could be used to summon protesters into the streets.
With this possibility people can also gather in groups that might turn out to be less constructive. One rather recent example is the “incel” forums. A support group for lonely depressed men emerging into an arena for hatred. It is a group that is both easy to make fun of and to feel sorry about. Under the hashtag #incel there are lots of post about incels rather than posts written by someone who is part of the community. They seem to prefer their forums.
The backlash against the, initially, celebrated activist movement is possibly a fact and #MeToo has left a somewhat questionable legacy. Women speaking up about sexual harassments became a debate on publishing decision making, when traditional media published content under the hashtag and named men who had not been found guilty in a court of law.