I was extremely confused when I got the email Kai Chan sent us requesting that we bring influencers to our first class.
My first thought was, "what class did I sign up for again?"
I was scared when I later learned how integrated social media would be for this course. There is something very private about our social media presence; it is a cultivated image of how we wish to be perceived by others. Being asked to produce content for a class about ecology and the environment greatly scared me. Not because I am shy about expressing myself, but because I didn't want to produce content for an app I hate.
I used to feel very differently about expressing my political opinions online, but after the black lives matter protests, I felt very disillusioned. Not that social media is not a great way of disseminating information, but watching targeted police violence all over Instagram changed how I felt about social media and the role of activism on Instagram.
I think another thing people in our generation struggle with is thinking that caring is cringe, and publicly admitting you care enough to post about it is double cringe. But why do we believe it is cringe to care? Do we see the act of posting as an inauthentic performance? Do we implicitly understand posting won't get us to where we want? Should you even care about what other people think?
I often think about this when I am debating deleting my Instagram page.
I think this class opened my mind to online activism. I also believe that I have become a more concise writer when creating activist material. Watching everyone create their campaigns was very inspiring, and exploring these ideas in an academic space with other passionate students was enlightening. I enjoyed listening and learning from my classmates and watching them become more confident in their own opinions.