24: April Fools Activism

Social activism has had many different faces over the years, decades, and centuries. Picket signs, rallies, marches, pamphlets, and now Facebook posts, blogs, and pictures on various sharing websites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, deviantART, YouTube, and whatever other sites are out there. With the Supreme Court’s recent hearing of oral arguments for California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, lots of people on Facebook, including the majority of my friends, either changed their profile picture to something like this picture: or posted about how they didn’t support repealing either one, or posted about how they didn’t believe in gay marriage but the government shouldn’t have control over anyone’s lives.

I don’t know how much good protests like that do, but it is rather interesting to see how many people support certain things, and it’s quite nice to know what people’s opinions are. I personally don’t share many of my opinions on Facebook because I don’t want to risk alienating certain people (especially those that I need to like me at least for a little while, such as friends XD) but when there are movements on Facebook that I see and support, and that I see a lot of my friends support, I feel a bit better that I’m not the only person I know who feels a certain. Misery loves company, but so does happiness and interest in particular topics.

Because of this new era of sharing pictures in every way imaginable, and because more and more often text is an integral part of pictures, visual rhetoric is an immense part of the modern way of spreading awareness and social activism. Deciding what picture to use, deciding what text to put on it, deciding where in particular to post that image, deciding who you want it to be visible to (i.e. the public, your friends, certain members of your friends, etc.) is part of the impact and decision-making (and rhetoric) of the way social activism has evolved in social media.

I don’t know how much social activism (if any) I’ll ever do, but if I do find anything interesting, or think of any interesting points about activism or rhetoric in activism and social media, I’ll be sure to share with you. And also if you have any thoughts, please share, and I’d love to post about them.

Read and reblog on!!


(Image from one of my friend’s Facebook profiles, and partially from George Takei’s Facebook.)

(I also found this picture on a stranger’s profile as their profile picture because they commented on a post of a page I like: )

4 thoughts on “24: April Fools Activism

  1. I’m an honors student at OCU, and we’re supposed to comment on one of y’all’s post about social activism and gay marriage. While reading this post, I thought about how social media, such as facebook and twitter, is a way for people to show others how they want to be seen. For example, posting pictures about wanting to legalize gay marriage can show someone’s nature and how they want to be seen. I definitely find myself posting statuses and pictures because I want to be seen a certain way. It’s crazy how nowadays people care so much and put so much effort into being seen that way. I don’t think anyone can truly say that they don’t care at all what people think about them. I think it’s cool how you don’t like to put all your feelings out there on social media because some people do it way too much. I also think visual rhetoric is such an important part of our culture; it’s great communication!

  2. Cool! XD Yeah, we were told that you guys were going to comment on our stuff: Pleasure to meet you!

    That is very true: that people use social media to show off a certain part of themselves. I know exactly what you mean, though I don’t think I would’ve been able to say it quite so succinctly and well. 🙂 And I agree: no matter how much they say they don’t care, people are always worried about how they’ll be seen by someone.

    Haha the only feelings I share on social media are about books and the TV shows I’m obsessed with, so I do definitely share some of my feelings… XD

    Thanks for your great insight!! I think it’s quite cool that even though we’re states away, we’re able to communicate and collaborate like this. 🙂

  3. Very perceptive. It seems that if a person sees something that aligns with their own views (such as a colorful equals sign used as a Facebook profile pic) it would not be uncommon for the person to “like” it. But in this instance, changing profile pictures takes the level of commitment to the cause one step further.

    A reason why it may be so widespread, is because the process to change a facebook profile is easy and immediately shows support in a way that people can recognize. I’m sure a vast majority of people who changed their profile picture were in support of gay rights to before, but support for the cause was not witnessed on that level because there was no unifying symbol and people are unlikely to simultaneously post “I support gay rights” on such a large scale without a reason (prop. 8).

    This movement even made it cool to support gay rights, which depending on what part of the country you’re from might be a novel stance for the public to take.

    Without social media, this movement would not exist as it does now. I agree with you when you say that “Misery loves company, but so does happiness…”

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