The ability to curate your own social media feed is an incredible aspect of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but it can be far too easy to only see content from those in your familiar circles and sociodemographic situations. A year has passed George Floyd’s murder, and social media has been pivotal to this historic movement. Countless posts have provided real-time updates of gatherings and protests, and bite-sized facts and resources have circulated about what people can do to educate themselves and help.
However, even if everyone was talking about Black Lives Matter before, as time goes on, your social media bubble might begin to recreate itself without you even realizing it. And, despite efforts of activists and campaigns like #sharethemic, Black voices and voices of color remain marginalized both on and off the internet, press coverage, and mainstream media.
By being mindful of what we use social media for, we can continue to reevaluate our privilege, identity, and opportunities and support the social justice movement. Anyone and everyone that has social media can make a difference by diversifying whom they follow. An effort to follow and engage with creators of color, independent news organizations, and mission-based groups is one step you can take to invest in the long-term fight for justice.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Local newspaper and news anchors. Big news organizations are great, but local ones need the same amount of attention as they work to uncover truths in your community. Think Pioneer Press, MPR News, MinnPost, and the Star Tribune, or even smaller.
- Black artistic creators. These could be movie stars, musicians, comedians, visual artists, etc. Amanda Gorman, Phoebe Robinson, Issa Rae, Ira Madison III, and Lorraine O’Grady are people you should know!
- Student-run university and college publications in your area. What is being published in student-run media? What are students in your community saying? Check out ones like the Minnesota Daily or The Mac Weekly.
- Elected officials. From your governor all the way down to school board officials, keeping a close eye on what’s going on in politics is crucial. Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Tina Smith are a great place to start.
- Investigate organizations. Such as ProPublica or MotherJones, long-form reports about a variety of subjects can quickly open up your perspective on the state of the world. There are many local investigative groups, too!
- Local nonprofits. Examples such as the Boys and Girls Club, food pantries such as Second Harvest Heartland, homeless shelters, and independent healthcare centers like Family Tree Clinic are a great way to keep up with volunteer opportunities and hear about needs in your community.
- Educators. What are public educators on the ground contributing to conversations around race and equality? More importantly, what accounts can you learn from? The Minnesota Collective for Educational Equity and Education Minnesota are both great resources.
Social media is a space for fun and creativity, selfies and life updates. But, it is also a place for justice, reckoning, and growth.
Be mindful of whom you follow and why because it does matter. It matters because those who follow you can see what you engage with. It matters because social media data is an important organizing tool for creators. And, it matters because diverse content is genuinely more interesting—don’t underestimate how much you can learn from following one new account that works to challenge the status quo.
Really, diversifying social media intake is the least we can do. Doing it now will pay off later as a variety of perspectives can, overtime, change your perspective on the world.