By: Nawal Samdani
As political discussions move into personal social media spaces, consumers can be confronted with a range of challenges. For many social media users, the influx of political content can be a source of irritation and stress; others think social media has no real effect on current events; others still believe it can be a beneficial way to help people get involved with issues that are important to them.
Since October, your feed has likely been flooded with content about Israel and Palestine, ranging from videos of graphic violence, to carefully curated news infographics, to instructions about how to participate in boycotts and protests.
IU South Bend students who regularly share and consume information about the Israel-Hamas war were asked a variety of questions regarding their take on social media activism. Read on to learn what our students are saying.
Palestinian-American student Leen Younis and Yemeni-American student Saleh Omar frequently share updates, facts and other relevant information about Israel and Palestine on social media. When asked why they post about the Israel-Hamas war, they said they use social media as a tool to “get the truth out to more people and to showcase confidence in [their] legacy and beliefs,” as well as to “educate more people in our generation that might not be fully aware of what is happening in the world.”
Omar and Younis agreed that social media can be used as a tool for change.
“Social media can be seen and used as an activism tool, as it can be an easy way to spread information quickly,” Omar said.
Younis agreed, noting that terms like ‘slacktivism’ dismiss the impact of social media in politics on an internet-dominated society.
“You are getting your posts into the eyes of more people, and depending on your relationship with said people, it could sway their beliefs,” she said.
Omar said he has often received “positive responses and questions from people who want to understand more.”
Since the war in Ukraine began last year, it has become increasingly apparent that we can experience international conflicts in a way that was not possible for other wars. So, how does it affect us as a society to be able to livestream and watch deadly violence on TikTok and Instagram?
“It opens more people’s eyes to the truth… although hard at times, it is what gets people moving,” Younis said. “When deadly violence is seen, it triggers an innate human response to act – whether that be as small as reposting, or as large as joining a protest.”