#Protest: Does online social activism actually work? (Editorial)


Ayb Graham

Video games and controller shown thrown in trash, as social media protests can sometimes be directed towards violent video games.

Protests, boycotts, and social activism are staples of our modern society. People have stood together to create change regarding social issues countless times in the past decade.

Many protests do actively take place in our culture, such as the major Colin Kaepernick protests happening earlier this decade, or smaller more spread-out protests supporting ideas such as the LGBTQ movement. 

The current biggest protest taking place internationally is in Hong Kong, a special administrative region in China fighting for their independence.  This protest has gone on for months and months against a corrupt police force. 

Protests began in 1997, when Hong Kong, a mostly autonomous region, was handed back to China by the United Kingdom.  In recent months, through the rise of social media, the protests have gained new wind, with support from the rest of the world. 

The online portion of this protest began to gain traction after the video game company Blizzard fined and banned a player for showing support of Hong Kong on a live-streamed event on October 6. 

 A player from the region, known as Blitzchung voiced his concern about the Hong Kong protest in an interview. Quickly after a ban and a fine was given to the player, leading to #BoycottBlizzard becoming more and more popular. 

More detailed information can be found here. 

After the ban hit the news, people took it among themselves to boycott Blizzard. The boycotters then used Twitter and Reddit to send support to the protesters on the ground in Hong Kong. 

Even though the boycott seemed strong at first, time has shown, like many other protests, that it was not entirely meant to last. It’s been less than a month since people have started boycotting, but most of the support for #BoycottBlizzard has lost its traction. This has led many people, including myself, to question the effectiveness of internet protests.

Even when the hashtag was trending, #BoycottBlizzard was, for the most part, ineffective.  Activision-Blizzard’s stock barely took any hit, with its stock only wavering by a 5$ margin on most days.

With social media protests proving ineffective, normal people may question how they can make their voices heard.  The truth is that it requires more than just a boycott to take down a corporation.

The easiest way to make one’s voice heard is through voting. Voting allows people to be more active in the choosing of politicians, leading to more like-minded changes. You can learn how to register to vote here.

Voting is just the first step but it is the start of fighting many complicated issues. Once changes are made in the government, social and political changes will be much easier to achieve. 

While it won’t solve everything, this is a very easy step towards change. 

With that first step, many more will be sure to come. 

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2019-2020 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.