This is a story about community, not my community but the community of The Fifth Congressional District in Atlanta Georgia. Why would a blogger from upstate New York care about what is happening in a whole other state? How did I find out what was happening? Twitter had a major hand in telling this tale. This was in response to the following tweets by President Elect Donald Trump….
I often find myself angry with the generalizations that Mr. Trump makes and I was not the only one. By targeting a Congressman and his constituents he started national conversation. People were initially angry at Mr. Trump for his comments directed at Representative John Lewis. Insulting Representative Lewis elicited outrage as he was a critical piece in the civil rights movement. Once going through those outrage tweets I started wonder about his constituents. What was their reaction to being insulted too?
I happened upon this tweet that was trending and had the hashtag #DefendThe5th
This hashtag became the rallying cry to let Mr. Trump know how they really felt. Here are a sample of some of the tweets…
I captured some more of this in the below “Twitter Moment”…
Social media can be a polarizing place. People on opposing sides often argue and wrangle with each other. The other side is this idea of community and community building. It’s fitting that I sit here on Martin Luther King Day reflecting on community building. It’s interesting to ponder what Dr. King would have thought about conversations like this on social media. One can only speculate but this quote by him may apply…
“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
Now, I would not describe The 5th Congressional district of Georgia as “suffering” at the hands of Donald Trump. They were certainly mad and were able to use social media is a new “creative force” to build their communities up. Not only where they able to come together as a community, they were able to tell their story to the nation as a it trended on twitter. Some current activists have mastered the use of social media as a “creative force”.
This has serious implications for social media managers as you are frequently charged with building a community. I often see this title being referred to “community manager”. Things like social media accounts and hashtags can bring people together. As social workers it is important to think about the tools at our disposal.
Social work and non-profit organizations often struggle with what the return on investment is for social media. Not every social media campaign will trend nationally but may trend locally. Time and time again I see stories like #DefendThe5th as a means to rally “communities” on social media.
Before you dismiss Social Media as a tool, think of it as a “creative force” your community that could ease it’s “suffering”.
This post originally appeared on my @Medium Page.