Social Work, in this day and age, has a strong relationship to technology. It can be used at every aspect of practice yet is often under discussed in our field. The below, originally posted on Bridging the Digital Divide in Social Work Practice, by author Ellen Belluomini, is a prime example of social media advocacy for a macro social welfare and social justice issue. The following has been submitted to us by Ellen herself:
Various advocacy groups are showing how to utilize support for a cause, through technology, in the U.S. Supreme Court review of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). A social media site, Facebook, is flooded today with red equality avatars supporting gay marriage. Okay, so it might not have an impact on Justice Scalia or Alito’s decision to repeal DOMA, or their views on same sex marriage, but there is significance in the action. How many people are opening their Facebook’s to view a sea of these red equality flags? On a microsystems level, a person can view their intimate social network in terms of who supports these beliefs. People can be influenced by the opinions of significant other’s in their lives. The opinions may not be the same as their family of origin.
Seeing the world through red colored glasses from an exosystem perspective, Facebook pages of businesses, the media, and people of influence in culture, may have power in a changing world. Consumers are viewing the opinions of their “likes” from a new perspective, a political one. Facebook user demographic charts show 72.5% of users are between 13-34 years of age. If users like a page because their friends do, they will receive content specific posts. How would these posts influence young people and in turn, our next generations?
How does this type of tactic work on our macrosystem? Gay marriage is trending and many people are listening. According to the recent Gallup poll (2011), 70% of Americans from 18 to 34 support legalizing same sex marriage. Does the impact of the digital generation decrease homophobia enough to shift the rights of an oppressed population? Conversely, 65% of men and 55% of women over fifty, disagree with the legalization of gay marriage. Boomers, the silent generation, and the G.I. generations born between 1958 and older are adapting more slowly, with Republicans of this age range significantly stagnant. It seems, at least for the digital natives, technology is changing the way our society views significant issues of our time. One cannot change the direction a sea of technology transforms.
Newport, F. (2011, May 20). For first time, majority of americans favor legal gay marriage. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/First-Time-Majority-Americans-Favor-Legal-Gay-Marriage.aspx
Social Media Today. (2011, March 07). Facebook demographics revisited – 2011 statistics. Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/kenburbary/276356/facebook-demographics-revisited-2011-statistics
Written By Ellen Belluomini
Thank you to Ellen for this timely submission. SJS looks forward to working with her on more pieces in the future, and hopes that you’ll pop on over to her blog to see more of what she has to offer to the social work community!
Our authors want to hear from you! Click to leave a comment