Online activism makes a difference

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During the Super Bowl last night, I was not watching the game but following the Twitter hashtag #notbuyingit where people were protesting about the many sexist ads, such as those by Kia, Telefora, Fiat and GoDaddy. Today’s Mother Jones article Twitter Talks Back to Sexist Super Bowl Ads described how this campaign started by Miss Representation is taking off.

Do online petitions actually make a difference? After looking at recent events, I have to say the online activism can and does make a difference. Several articles in the last few days documented the role online activists have to make change. The AltanticWire article 2012 Is the Year of the Virtual Protest and Nickolas Kristof’s Sunday New York Times column After Recess: Change the World both highlight the impact online efforts using services such as Change.org have. As Kristof wrote about these successes:

And therein lies a story of how new Internet tools are allowing very ordinary people to defeat some of the most powerful corporate and political interests around — by threatening the titans with the online equivalent of a tarring and feathering.

Our efforts to change the culture can start with online efforts. How will you use our new technology to promote a world free of sexual violence and domestic violence?

David Lee

David S. Lee, MPH, is the Director of Prevention Services at the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) where he provides training and technical assistance on prevention. David manages the national project Prevention Connection, an online community of violence against women prevention practitioners, funders, researchers and activists. For over 29 years David has worked in efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

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