Opinion: Social Media Activism

Emily Unruh

After the Parkland shooting, social media blew up with messages of both support and anger at the tragedy that occurred. The hashtag #NeverAgain became a sensation on Twitter, and new accounts popped up advertising the March for our Lives, and the efforts of the students to get stronger gun control.

You could barely scroll through your feed, or look at your homepage without seeing an opinion or news article about gun control. Now, almost a month later, the social media activists are silent, Donald Trump is tweeting about something else, and my feed is once again filled with memes. So what happened to the outrage about the heartbreaking event? Why have our legislators been allowed to fail students once again? Why does Trump get to tweet about his border wall while he has failed to put forward any substantial policies?

I am tired of social media stirring the pot, and then letting the soup burn. We can’t be activists online, and then fail to follow through. Twitter user Brian Krassenstein tweeted two days ago, “It’s been 3 weeks since the Stoneman Douglas massacre. The media has already slowed their coverage of the tragedy to a crawl. We promised that this time would be different. Let’s Make it Different. Don’t stop TWEETING your support of these kids & your disgust w/ the NRA. RETWEET.”

The kids from Stoneman Douglas are still organizing and the March for Our Lives is coming March 24 at the Topeka Capitol to be exact, but you can see the trickle of anger slowing. I don’t think that we can let up. We can’t let Trump move on to his daily tweets praising the economy, or let our legislators forget that they still have work to do. I refuse to let our government blame old policies, without implementing new policies. We have to keep the spark alive, and the messages coming.

Social media has allowed students to become more involved in activist campaigns, but it has also allowed us to post and then forget. We must call our legislators, push our agenda and refuse to let them go back to their everyday lives without change. When we say #NeverAgain, it’s imperative that we mean it. With tragedies like the Parkland shooting, we cannot favorite or retweet and then forget.