Photo by Clay Banks
In the past two weeks, our social media news feeds have been filled with news on George Floyd – an African-American man who tragically died at the hands of a white police officer while he was being arrested – and the subsequent revival of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the United States and beyond. In addition to the powerful images of his face and gatherings of protestors in Australia, South Korea and the UK posted over every social media platform, there have been impassioned calls to end violence against black people, systemic racism and police brutality across the world. Closer to home, names like Collins Khosa, Petrus Miggels and Robyn Montsumi dominate news headlines.
Offline activism also moved to the online space with users showing their support for those at the frontlines of protest action using hashtags like #ICantBreathe, #SayTheirNames and #BlackOutTuesday, which was born out of a music industry initiative in the US. Although initially for entertainers, big brands and ordinary people alike joined the initiative, the aim of which was to go silent on social media and use the time to reflect on current events. Users also posted a single black square as their profile picture on Facebook and Twitter or to their grid on Instagram as a symbol of solidarity with the BLM movement. Aside from some of the controversy around the symbolic sea of black squares on social media, the hashtag prompted a much-needed online exchange of information about BLM. It also raised some valuable questions about online activism, especially for digital marketers.READ MORE