Explore advocacy outside of social media

A student urges their peers to resist seeking political insight from social media influencers and instead make a difference through engaging in personal advocacy and action.


Influencers dominate the social media sphere and can have powerful effects on the views, opinions and habits of their followers. Now, these influencers are facing an influx of demands from social media users to take stances and educate their viewers on political and societal issues, including national elections and global crises, like the latest Israel-Hamas war.

News about humanitarian crises of this nature travels quickly via Instagram infographics and trending X threads, so people with large followings can be incredibly beneficial in bringing attention to important issues and mobilizing their audience to assist in a cause. However, internet influencers usually aren’t well-versed in these topics.  

While silence from those with platforms can be alarming, students should be mindful that pushing every person to become a spokesperson for a cause they are not familiar with can have adverse effects on positive movements.

Instead of seeking education and commentary from content creators on big issues, students should seek out materials from reputable sources, vote and engage with politicians in power and join or support advocacy organizations to inspire action and create noticeable change.  

Brett Myszkowski understands why his peers gravitate towards social media for their news, but believes they should seek out more reliable sources instead.  

“I think because of the accessibility and the digestibility of social media, people have a tendency to read headlines or blurbs and don’t do deep dives or [question] opinions from influencers,” said Myszcowski, a senior English major. 

Content creators have a large reach, but students shouldn’t rely on them to inform their opinions. It’s important to gather facts from trusted institutions, like peer-reviewed journals or a variety of trusted news outlets like The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker. 

An influencer can only convey so much information through a social media post or video, so it’s important to examine relevant information from credible sources. It also allows students to know they are receiving content that is both timely and accurate. 

Lance Holbert, a communication and social influence professor, believes people are heavily influenced by the content they consume regardless of whether their sources are experts on the topic. 

“People have always listened to those around them that aren’t necessarily experts on something and their opinions can have influence,” Holbert said. “The best thing to do is to go to places that are engaged in original information gathering, they gather their own information, they do their reporting — actual reporting.” 

Students should also take action in their daily lives to support communities and political causes. Social media and news are valuable for spreading awareness, but advocacy and political engagement can assist people and causes more directly. 

Voting is the most effective way to have a direct impact on social and political issues on a local, state, national and international level, allowing individuals to choose the candidates and policies that align with the hopes they have for their communities. 

Instead of pushing influencers to take stances, students can also reach out to the politicians who currently represent them and urge them to take action on or advocate for solutions to important social and political issues. This communication can be done through social media or by calling or writing to politicians. The United States Government provides a guide for how to find and contact elected officials.

“Beyond [gathering information from trusted sources], the other thing to do is just roll up your sleeves and walk out the door and go somewhere and volunteer, do something,” Holbert said. “People need help.” 

Students can also support organizations and fundraisers to make a difference on the issues they care about. There are several resources students can use to aid the people suffering as a result of the conflict in Israel and Palestine outside of social media.

Organizations like the United Nations Crisis Relief, The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund are easily accessible and make donating a seamless process. If possible, students and social media users should turn their attention to supporting these organizations. 

There’s also a plethora of political and social justice-oriented clubs offered at Temple for students to get involved in supporting the causes and communities they care about. 

Meg Mohr was an active participant in the 2023 TUGSA strike on campus and believes direct action and support are highly effective ways to make a tangible difference. Students should utilize the resources and advocacy organizations available at Temple to have an impact, they said.

“Talk to people, start getting involved, start joining groups,” said Mohr, a senior political science major. “You can always start talking to people who are involved in [organizations] but most [organizations] have an information page to learn how to get started.” 

A full list of these clubs and organizations can be found on Owl Connect, Student Activities’ involvement site.

“[Involvement is] better because you are actively interacting with the issue rather than passively showing support,” Mohr said. “Social media is passive [because] you’re only sharing information that someone can click through rapidly.” 

It’s okay to urge others to educate themselves, but students should avoid relying on influencers for their takes on important issues like politics, war, or crises, and instead put that energy toward personal advocacy and encouraging those in government offices with power to do their part. Every student should be conscious of the massive impacts they can have through simply educating themselves through reliable resources and advocating on their own outside of social media.

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