We all carry cellphones now. We can take pictures and videos of incidents as they occur in real-time. Facebook can be used to spread the word about a protest or event. Digital technology can be used to shape public opinion. For example, people in China use the service Weibo to get their news outside of what’s allowed in their country. While censorship does still happen, they get creative with misspellings and symbols to convey their news or message across.
A big activism website that uses technology is Electronic Frontier Foundation. They provide articles on causes and rights being violated, incidents occurring that are not being reported in the mainstream media, and even provide you with tools for protection on the internet.
Change.org is another website that uses technology to advance changes by letting people create petitions on political issues they are passionate about. They can then share their petition among all social media platforms for a call to action. You can start signing a few petitions right now by going to change.org.
Technology is also used for grassroots movements such as the 2008 election of President Obama. Micro-donations through PayPal and other services allowed people donate small amounts to fund his campaign. The website MoveOn.org was created during this, and because of the low overhead, can succeed in raising small amounts of money from many people. They do not have to rely on door-to-door petitioning or flyers and mailers to get people to donate. It’s all done on the internet.
The way we do activism today is different from two decades ago. However, it doesn’t mean we still don’t use those methods. We just have a new advantage in technology in helping us bring together more people.