Most people have a very specific view of what activism means, normally including protests. But being an activist doesn't have to involve dreadlocks and can be less scary than it may seem at first.
- •Pick your cause.Yes, this is very obvious, but very important. Find the cause that speaks to you and inspires you to take action. This can seem overwhelming, but it is important to realize that so many of today’s causes (be it ending hunger and extreme poverty, the environment, human rights, or education) are all interconnected. Pick a starting point and as you become more involved with the subject the connections will become obvious.
- •Start the first List App Activist Group.What cause will the List App choose to rally behind? Mental health seems to be an obvious one, or possibly animal rights to ensure the safety of all the cute dogs people talk about on here. Either way I vote @Nicholas as the leader of the movement.
- •Connect with others.One of the key features of both traditional and 21st century activism is mobilization of a group in support of a cause. Sites like Facebook, (The ListApp) and Twitter are great for bringing people with similar interests together, and whether these connections stay online, involve mobilizing an in-person discussion group, or even coordinating a protest, there is value in connecting and sharing with others who are also interested in the cause. There’s always power in numbers.
- •Put your opinions out there.Technology has changed the game when it comes to 21st century activism. The activist’s toolkit now includes many forms of online interaction. Blogging, writing and listing are great ways to get your voice heard. Stay on top of what is trending and don’t be afraid to add your voice! Even if people disagree with your opinions, these are great opportunities to have respectful dialogue and you might even benefit from a little criticism that helps you to critically examine your opinions.
- •Engage at the level you can.A common misconception about engaging in activism is that it’s too time consuming, but it’s important to realize that you can participate at the level you have time for and are comfortable with. If you are a new activist, why not start out by researching a cause that you are interested in. Increase your engagement by tweeting or signing a petition. As you learn more about your cause, you may want to engage in person with others who are interested, volunteer your time, or engage politically.
- •Be creative!One of the major goals of activism is to raise awareness about an issue. Whether you are bringing attention to an issue or lobbying for structural change, increased awareness is often a catalyst for change. Successful grassroots campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge often capitalize on a simple idea that goes viral.
- •Read more on Global Citizen!