I’d like to propose that for every two social media posts we make on social change issues, we strive to do one “actual” thing to make a difference on the issue. Attend a rally, meet a government official, create a new partnership, donate, lead a campaign, attend an educational session, etc.
In general, the people posting are very sincere about their deep commitments and truly have the desire to see change (not just their post as a social experience). So collectively we can be more effective in our activism if we are all on the ground, learning from the physical realities of human to human interaction. Social media “activism” is a tool to harness action, but it cannot replace the actual action.
Social media can be a very valuable tool for raising awareness, fostering conversation, cultivating compassion, shaping discourse, and building bridges. I would urge us to continue to use it for good, but we must not allow it to replace our actual social change work. As the sages taught: “Say little and do much!”
By posting and not acting, one risks trivializing suffering by building one’s social identity upon the backs of the vulnerable.
Social action inspired by a commitment to love, justice, equality, and compassion will go much further than a Facebook rant or passionate tweet. If we believe in something, we should be willing to “hit the streets” for it! Lets shift this dynamic not only for our collective integrity but to win the causes we care so much about.
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Executive Director of the Valley Beit Midrash, the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute and the author of five books on Jewish ethics. Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America.”