Civic Engagement & Social Media

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Digital Citizenship and Civic Engagement

We’ve had a broad discussion on being a responsible citizen in a digital realm. We would be remiss to not include a discussion on how social media is being used as a tool for civic engagement.

Social Media in particular can be a tool not only express views and ideas, but powerful tools to create change. In light of our previous discussion on digital citizenship, it’s important to recognize that when one engages civically, all the online norms of behavior - digital footprint, cyberbullying, etc. - are strongly in effect. Still, using social media responsibly to participate in the global discourse on ideas of import that impact our lives is crucial for us and students in our charge. Below are some examples of how social media is being used to stress the dominant discourse to reimagine what’s possible.

Social Media to Change Policy

Many of our long-standing organizations are having difficulty in this new wave of communication and expression, especially as it impacts their current policies, policies which today rather than allow people to participate, shut out. An example of how one of these organizations was pushed to redefine its policy are the Grammys. The first Grammys Award was given in 1958, a very different landscape for artists than today. Segregation was still in full effect in 1958 and technology was making advances, but was not yet impacting mainstream culture.

Today, that has all changed. Chance the Rapper, an independent artist, knew this. Chance was using apps like Soundcloud, Twitter and Spotify to push out his music for free. Chance began to gain popularity and people followed his music. He started holding concerts and would sell out in ten minutes. It was then that he realized that his music was making an impact and he reached out to the Grammys to submit his work to be considered for a Grammy. The Grammys wouldn’t accept his music since he was a streaming only artist and they did not accept streaming only artists. Chance took to social media and challenged the Grammy Awards on their archaic policy in an age of digital innovation for artists. And, the Recording Academy consented. They changed their policy to allow for the first time streaming only artists to receive a Grammy. (Citation Below)

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"Recording Academy Embraces Streaming with Changes to Grammy ...." 16 Jun. 2016, Accessed 28 Jul. 2017.