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  • Arian Hill

Social Media for Social Change: The Women’s March

Photo by Timonthy Fadek via Wired

If you live in the United States and are even halfway aware of the world around you, you know that there has been controversy galore. Emotions and tensions have been high for many groups of individuals in America and around the world and the 2016 presidential race was sure to heighten those fears. For Hawaiian native Teresa Shook, it was a call to action.

It all started when she was devastated by the results of the 2016 presidential race. In the moment, Shook decided she had to do something about how she was feeling and created a Facebook event for a hypothetical march on Washington. She invited 40 of her friends and they agreed to join and by the time she woke up the next day, 10,000 people had said they were in.

Something as simple as creating a Facebook event spurred a movement. Shook used a PR technique that is fully accessible to PR professionals today. The use of social media in PR gives professionals a quick, easy way to disperse messages to a large, diverse public.. Shook’s PR move proved to work.

On January 21, 2017, more than 2 million people in 60 different countries came together for marches in various places around the world to be heard after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The Women’s March was about inclusivity and solidarity. Among those protesting for Women’s Rights, groups protesting racial injustice, climate change and protecting immigrants came to speak loud and clear for President Trump-- all because of one Facebook event page that spurred a movement.

Social media is changing the way grassroots movements mobilize their platform and supporter base. Movements so large that only a celebrity could start are now being put together in a month and a half by everyday individuals who have something to say. For the world of PR, this is a outstanding proof that it is possible to get your message across to a large audience in a timely manner. With so many social platforms at our expense, we have more opportunity than ever to craft and control a message and disperse it in an instant. Let the Women’s March be proof that we can be heard.

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