“Social media activists” may be defined in this article as anyone who uses social media to further socio-political interests. Activism was traditionally limited to those who organized in the streets or went door to door to acquire signatures for a petition. It is due to the widespread use of social media that activism is no longer restricted to organizations or prominent figures with a voice. Lobbying against companies can be done online without ever stepping outside. Activism no longer requires the extensive planning and often difficult picket-sign lobbying in its traditional form of organized protests. Due to the nature of the internet, activism is able to expand its definition to those who are continuously sharing links, petitions, and other web materials to promote their political interests. People are able to join the protests easily through hashtags or changing their profile picture. Anyone with access to the internet may become a social activist and have their voice heard.
Perhaps the most significant part of social media activism is the ability to translate discourse into action. The large protests of the previous years have all been organized through various social media sites. Notably, the Women’s March on Washington was organized through a Facebook event by women with no previous acquaintance. Three prominent female activists had separately posted about a possible women’s march contesting President Trump’s inauguration. They joined together, recruiting other activists to organize the massive event. Subsequently, tens of thousands of people indicated their intention to attend through an RSVP to the Facebook event, and it eventually spawned hundreds of supporting marches around the world. The event successfully roused the interests of a population, mobilizing upwards of two million people in a mass protest. Specifically, the causes of the march were able to be widely understood and available to anyone. The accessibility of social media allows a broad support base that will ultimately prevent such a movement from being ignored.