ow does one person's school strike become a movement of 18 million?
The Fridays For Future movement embodies the power of people coming together to take action in real life. The campaign, of course, started with one individual, Greta Thunberg, sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament, protesting climate change. The ‘climate strikes’ took off due to social media, where Greta and others used their platform to raise awareness about the emergency. Across the globe, these young activists and their Fridays For Future protests and sit-ins, inspired people.
Importantly, this movement was not digital-only. It was not restricted to clicking and sharing information. Activist influencers used their clout to inspire their followers to show up in real life, organize events, and convince people that every individual has the power to make a difference.
As Greta Thunberg says, "You are never too small to make a difference!"
Influencers often have followers in the 100,000s or even millions but remain outside of the 'establishment.' They are digital thought leaders who draw awareness to critical issues like climate change, human rights, and social justice, and also motivate and mobilize their followers to take action in person.
A study from the School for Mass Communication Research at KU Leuven in Belgium found that "online political participation will result in higher offline political participation over time."1 Given their unique power, influencers can become a crucial bridge between online activism and real-life participation, leading to meaningful change.
The Role of Activist Influencers in Affecting Change on an Individual Level
In many ways, Fridays For Future was a watershed moment in redefining social media influencers' role in mitigating climate and social justice issues.
Influencers have continued to raise awareness of topics, educate their followers on the broader context of critical issues, and break down topics in ways that individual actions matter. They address monumental issues, like sustainability and human rights, making them accessible and influencing their followers' behaviors on a personal level.
Elizabeth Joy, who founded Conscious Life and Style, deep dives into fast fashion on her social platform @consciousstyle. They consider the issue from an environmental perspective and through human labor and cultural lenses. Further, they encourage their followers to make choices promoting slow fashion and to spread the word on the virtues of slow fashion.
As educators, activist influencers can impact their followers' attitudes by:
- Freely discussing polarizing issues and changing the opinions of their followers.
- Simplifying complex topics like climate change and breaking them down into more solvable problems.
- Getting people previously uninterested in these issues to participate and engage with them.
- Drawing connections between the various facets of an issue — such as how transphobia is rooted in colonialism.
- Spotlighting how individual efforts matter and together these actions can help tackle climate change and social justice challenges.
How Social Media Influencers Can Encourage Their Followers to Take Activism Offline
We need real-life actions to bring about changes in our communities. There are a few ways social media influencers can encourage offline activism:
Creating Offline Experiences: As an online activist, individual contributions are often limited to sharing and clicking. Most people are observers and witnesses in this sphere and may forget about the issue as soon as they scroll away from it. IRL experiences are a potent way to bond with others, create positive memories, and empower action. Setting goals related to social or climate issues and achieving them together with others is a powerful stimulus in offline activism.
Getting Followers Active In Their Communities: Change is most meaningful when it begins close to home. People tend to be more aware of the issues and problems facing their neighborhoods and what actions they can take or whom they can involve to solve them. One community may need a communal fridge, while another may need resources to learn about mental well-being. Influencers can shine a light on issues affecting their neighborhoods, calling on fellow locals to solve them together.
Sustaining Offline Actions Amongst Followers: Some social actions, such as registering people to vote, are instantly impactful. Others, however, require sustained work. Activist influencers must encourage continuous participation and engagement in their followers' local communities.
Rewarding Time, Knowledge, and Work: Working to improve local communities may be rewarding in and of itself, but people who show up and do the work deserve to benefit personally. Being rewarded is another way to ensure that people are willing to share their time, knowledge, and expertise for the greater good over a longer period. Non-monetary rewards, such as prizes from supporting brands, are also effective.
Gamifying Offline Activism: Veganuary and Zero Waste Challenge have shown that gamification is a powerful tool to bring people together and achieve more. Influencers can gamify activism to reward followers and encourage them to show up continually. #teamtrees uses gamification to raise donations directly for planting trees worldwide. They use blockchain technology to track every tree planted so far, the donations they have received, and a leaderboard of people who have donated.
Impact to Earn, Gamified Activism Powered by Web3
Rabble is a Web3 platform changing how people view activism — not as a one-time opportunity to volunteer, but rather as a way to take continuous action to get ahead of the problems people face in their communities. By working with other locals and addressing the issues most critical to that neighborhood, every person can contribute in a way that will lead to meaningful change and better communities.
We're gamifying activism — the more actions you take, the more rewards you earn. When you join Rabble, you'll mint an NFT, whose value will grow based on your actions. We follow the impact-to-earn model where you convert rewards to real-world prizes, donate them to another cause or hold on to them to increase the value of the reward, or even exchange it for fiat money.
Rabble is the perfect Web3 platform for activist influencers to work collaboratively with their followers, encourage participation in real-life and reward them for their actions. Join @rabbleio and learn how to mobilize your followers to take community action offline.