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How to Become a 21st-Century Social Activist

Want to make a difference in the world? It's easier than ever, thanks to modern technology. Here's how you can become a 21st-century social activist.


  • Step 1: Know what a 21st-century social activist is Know what a 21st-century social activist is: A person who uses modern communication technology -- like text messaging, Twitter, and Facebook -- to help bring about social change.
  • Step 2: Raise awareness Use social media to raise awareness of a wrong. An Egyptian citizen's anonymous Facebook group about the torture killing of a local man by police helped topple the 30-year presidency of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
  • Step 3: Tweet Use hashtags -- words or phrases prefixed with the "hash" or "pound" symbol -- on Twitter to help spread, share, and organize information about a certain topic. Hashtags can be used to coordinate protests, update people about an ongoing crisis, and crowdsource information.
  • TIP: Keep in mind that authorities have become savvy at keeping an eye on revolutionary activity by monitoring hashtags.
  • Step 4: Post it on YouTube Witnessing an injustice in person? Record it on your cellphone and post it to YouTube. You'll need a YouTube account with a mobile setup that allows you to upload directly from your phone to your YouTube channel. Or provide a feed of events on the ground as they happen with a live video broadcasting app.
  • Step 5: Raise money Raise money for a good cause by setting up a text-to-donate program, where people can make a charitable donation by texting a keyword to a shortcode number. The donation is typically added to the user's monthly phone bill.
  • TIP: Go to "": for step-by-step instructions on setting up a text-to-donate program.
  • Step 6: Create an online petition Create an online petition for your cause. The site "": started after a Canadian bookstore mogul read that an Iranian woman had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The public pressure resulted in a stay of execution for the mother of 2.
  • FACT: Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country weeks after the self-immolation of a fruit vendor -- who was protesting high unemployment, rising prices, and government corruption -- was distributed across the internet, causing widespread uprisings.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Twitter account
  • Facebook account
  • Smartphone with camera and video
  • YouTube account with a mobile set-up
  • Live video broadcasting app
  • Text-to-donate programs
  • Online petitions

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