Influence and Activism- The Online Space by Lindsay McGlone

Lindsay is dressed in a tarten red dress, smiling into her phone camera

The internet has now become an extremely saturated market – everyone has now moved online (yes, even more than before) whether that be to tell Facebook you’ve figured out how to do origami or to upload a picture of your lunch to Instagram, we’re online more than ever before. But that online presence becomes a responsibility; as soon as you press that upload button you are in a position of influence and before you worry, I’m not talking about us ol’ Instagram influencers. I’m talking about us all. It’s naive to think that we don’t influence others every single day, whether that’s in a good or bad way.

Okay, maybe I will touch upon ‘Influencers’. So, a brand approaches me, they have a product and I have to advertise that through my feed. Now the reason that ‘influencing’ has become SO prominent is because people buy from people, we as the consumer attach ourselves to people we relate to. This is the same with ideas and ways of thinking – it’s almost like our online peripheral vision. We’re constantly consuming ideas and the opinions of others. Now, take that back to what I said at the beginning – we’re all in a position of influence. Am I scaring you yet?

What we do with that influence is important. Now I’m not here to take all the fun away from our social media but I am going to tell you what we can do with our online space. I am an activist who speaks about Fat liberation (we’ll save that for another day) and the most effective way for me to reach a mass audience with my message is through my online platform, by sharing videos, posts, podcasts and other mediums, speaking on the topic and sharing my personal experiences. The content is accessible, free, as well as shareable. With every share, a new person is reached and a new person reads my message. This really is the best time to start posting with intent on your socials – you can create petitions, you can email and call companies or you can educate and you yourself can learn.

Let’s assume that you want to start your activism online (yes you can  prompt social change from your phone) you are probably wondering where to start.

Firstly, craft your message. Think to yourself, what is it that I am actively trying to achieve? Make it slick and concentrated. Don’t worry, you can branch out into intersections, but firstly concentrate on what you really want to change.

Secondly, educate yourself. Take some time reading other activists work, over see their social media. What do they do well? What could you do better?

Thirdly, remain authentic. Remember – people buy from people and what we do as activists is sell a message/cause. We want to compel others for change, so don’t alter yourself into and ‘idealistic’ form of you, just be you.

Next, it’s time to talk. If you are posting on a topic that’s close to your heart, it may be daunting at first and you will come against opposition, but once you’ve done it once it will get easier.

Lastly, create a call to action. What is it that you want your audience to DO? That can be as simple as think or educate themselves to signing a petition or sharing their own personal experience.

So, do you reckon you can be an activist now? I think so. Next time you post online, pause and think. What is it that I am trying to achieve?

Lindsay McGlone aka The Fierce Fat Feminist, is an activist, content creator and online influencer.

Follow Lindsay on Instagram here.

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