Is The Battle Worth Fighting?

In today’s world where everyone (and their dog) has an opinion about everything that is backed by “facts”, is it really productive to have meaningful conversations on social media? Especially conversations regarding social justice? This is a question that was posed to us last class.  We were asked to reflect on whether or not online social activism can be meaningful and worthwhile? Or whether or not it is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?

As I have talked about in some of my previous posts, I often think of my life as “separate” from my social media life.  As this article states, I know that my “real life” and “online life” are connected and that everything that happens in my real life fuels my online life. However, I don’t think everything that happens in my private life needs to be shown online. In teaching pre-school and living in a small conservative town, I choose to leave many things offline as I don’t think everyone needs to see or have an opinion on my every move.

Now that brings me to the topic of this week. Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? I am going to say that if you are only friends with like-minded liberal people, then sure, otherwise no. Research shows that people hide behind screens and often say things that would not have the courage to say in real life. I think that goes the other way also that people get so hard-headed that they only see one view, especially online, as they don’t have to actually listen to the other person’s point of view, they can just scroll through it and post their argument again.

That is why I think it would only be possible if like -minded or relatively liberal people are the ones commenting. In my small town, with very conservative minded people, I think speaking about social justice and having a positive debate online would likely never happen. In this article, Katia Hildebrant, my professor states ” I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than just my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act”.  Maybe that is true, I think we do need to use our privilege to speak for those with less or none but if you know you are going into a losing battle, do you do so anyways? Are there not other ways to show that these issues are important, such as volunteering for organizations like Habitat for Humanity,  or Me to We?

This is just one person’s opinion, after all. I do think if you are speaking with the right people, these conversations would absolutely be possible but for a small conservative Saskatchewan town, I don’t they are very likely.


7 thoughts on “Is The Battle Worth Fighting?

  1. I definitely agree with your opinions here! Sometimes Facebook (or other social media) “debates” are like talking to a brick wall. I always choose to spend my time and money where it makes the most difference, which to me is local charities and organizations where I can see the change and betterment happening.


    • Absolutely Chelsey! I will volunteer for multiple organizations whenever asked but online “debates” often leave me frustrated and feeling as though I can’t get my point across and to me, that’s not worth it!


  2. I find myself picking and choosing who you can have a civil debate with, and who you cannot. So many people are way to stubborn and are not worth the time trying to teach, while other people I have found actually educate you on why they have that certain stance which I find can be extremely beneficial. Allows you to understand the other point of view, and gives you the power to choose a side and sometimes your decision may or may not be altered.


    • Jon, I totally agree with you. I admire those people who actually explain why they think the way they do because then I may end up doing more research and changing my stance or just learning something. Unfortunately, it seems the people on my FB account are often very conservative and if 20 people comment on my account, only one person will normally have a knowledgeable “debate” with actual researched information. I tend to use Twitter more often for these types of issues because I find there I have a way better chance of an actual discussion. As for FB- I think I will save my marbles and use my time well spent somewhere else instead of just being frustrated by silly people!!


  3. I agree with what you’re saying Bailie. I’ve often heard that people who do a lot of online debating or posting about very specific topics of interest tend to follow people with the same beliefs/opinions. This can create a sort of sess-pool of like-minded people on their social media accounts which leads to some very negative outcomes, such as negative debates as you said. I think there are healthy ways to use online platforms for social justice activism and healthy debate, but because when we post publicly we don’t have control over who is engaging with our posts, it’s a fine line! In person, real life, situations are still best to me!


  4. Small towns can and do help in big ways

    You might want to think about what can you help your small town do to help a cause? Is there a need for a pretty park space – even a pocket garden with handmade benches?

    I need to find my own cause, as well.—ecmp-355/are-we-active-enough-to-make-changes


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