The shift of social justice education to online spaces.
The internet has always been an equalizing force for education and information. Literally called the “Information Superhighway” at one point, we have encountered so many new developments in our society based on the levels of information we obtain and consume. From “google syndrome” to “echo chambers,” these changes in how society works can be placed on a broad spectrum of good and bad. While some social media groups like anti-vaxxers are spreading misinformation to create a cult of feel-good ignorance, there are progressive groups all over social media that are trying to do the opposite. These groups are using the powers of digital media creation to inform the public on a variety of deep academic topics ranging from race theory, to gender theory, to economics.
Especially popular on Instagram, these informative accounts create slideshows for all sorts of topics, typically conforming to a pastel-colored background and strong typography. Some high-quality examples consist of @soyouwanttotalkabout, @idontmind, and @impact. They have informational slideshows on crucial topics like critical thinking skills, journalistic sourcing, and daily current events. The more academically sound accounts have their info sources cited inside the slides. What makes these slideshows so profound is the ease to share them with all your followers. A share on someone’s highly visible Instagram story could lead to thousands more views and shares. These slideshows go viral based on the information alone. Not only is this providing college-level discourse and theory to people of all ages and economic backgrounds, but it is also proving to be a socialistic influence on the financial gatekeeping of higher education.
Unlike liberal academia, conservatives unfortunately have a ways to go in terms of aiding their arguments with academic thought and reasoning. Battling the “elitist” culture of the left with brash anti-intellectualism, it seems like the entirety of the right have cut their noses off to spite their faces, and continue to do so. Using anything in their power to “own the libs,” they have reduced their reasoning down to a basic nationalism coupled with a nostalgia for the days of yore. Their social media shares consist of poorly photoshopped fantasies, blatant lies, and opinions from the latest “intellectual” grifter. They have developed a pre-approved pool of talking heads that sufficiently “own the libs” for the rest of them. Their carefully edited videos of seemingly “destroying” liberal talking points have gone viral thanks to the Youtube algorithm, but in reality when they face any intellectual of their caliber or higher, they crumble like children.
Interestingly, I have never seen informative slideshows on the right as I do on the left. A part of me thinks that they probably don’t like reading as much. While conservatives lean into a president and a party that only focus on key issues like religious freedom/discrimination and abortion rights, they fail to grasp the dynamics of many issues that threaten the world today, like climate change and unchecked capitalism. Liberals, progressives, and even socialists are educating themselves with the knowledge they need to win the war of ideas. The protests we’ve seen on the streets have been game-changing for the direction of this country, and they have started because of the digital protests we’ve seen start on social media.
about the author
Eric / 32
Eric is a Denver-based designer who does a little bit of everything. He loves cats, video games, and being a weirdo.