As Trump’s first year as President came to a close, I chose to examine the power of social media in recent political movements. Specifically, the many Women’s Marches held across the U.S. this past weekend marking the one year anniversary of the record breaking Women’s March of 2017. One year ago, this movement seemed to spring out of nowhere and now has become a memorable part of history. I began to wonder how these events spread so rapidly.
After gathering some research, sure enough, the Women’s March was started by social media. Not only did it begin through a Facebook post, it was actually accidental. A woman named Teresa Shook who lives on the Hawaiian Islands posted on Facebook out of frustration after the 2016 Election results. She invited 40 of her Facebook friends to take part in a “March on Washington” and by the next morning 10,000 people had clicked “attend”.
On January 21st, 2017, 500,000 women and men gathered on Washington and a total of 2.6 million protestors attended marches in cities across all 50 states. The Women’s March of 2017 was the largest single day protest in American history and this was only the beginning. Now, this revived and refreshing Women’s Movement is taking place almost exclusively online. Sure, there are organizers who gather for a meeting before a large event, but for the most part the movement is thriving off of social media and digital marketing. The “womensmarch” Instagram account created its first post on December 3rd, 2016 to promote the Women’s Marches on January and the account now has 796,000 followers. Moving forward, this loosely defined organization of womensmarch is creating new avenues to seek social justice. Their account now promotes #PowerToThePolls, a swing state tour to promote national voter-registration for the Senatorial midterm elections. Though the marches ended after a few days, the idea sparked non-profits and political organizations to gather and continue their efforts through digital marketing and social media channels.
Thanks to social media, the Women’s March has officially taken its place among historic demonstrations — including the 1963 civil rights demonstrations and the Vietnam War protests of 1967″ (USA Today).