This post is a continuation of our guest author series and is written by the creator of the bham_forblacklives Instagram. We hope her successful and healthy experience on social media will inspire others to search for their own happiness in the digital world!
Upon seeing the need for unity in social issues happening around the world, I wanted to help by first connecting to those in my community. Over the past eight years, I’ve gotten more familiar with Birmingham’s central role during the Civil Rights Movement and was curious as to why we can’t play as large of a role now. As recent events regarding racism sparked rightful uprisings all over the world, I saw the need to make sure everyone in Birmingham was well-educated and aware of what we can do to help.
In my time on social media, I saw many (and I mean many) posts that stemmed from ignorance and indifference to the issues facing the world. I thought to myself, we need to change that, but as a young girl, I didn’t see where I could fit in the solution. Then, I realized the answer was at my very fingertips: social media. I had already seen many organizations take off just by spreading word of their social media accounts, so naturally, I did the same.
When I first created the Instagram account, I titled it “blacklivesmatter_bham,” and I was incredibly excited for people to start following. I made my first post over the defamation of the George Floyd mural in downtown Birmingham, captioning it with a sense of urgency. I was convinced that many others thought the same way as I did--that we must continue spreading information to even the most sheltered of people.
I was overly optimistic that the account would gain instant popularity, but I realized that no one would even get word if I didn’t take initiative. I started at my very own high school and then started anonymously spreading word to those at colleges and even outside of Alabama. Once the account began spreading, I was ecstatic; we were growing almost 100 followers per day. Now, at over 1,000 followers on the new account name, “bham_forblacklives,” I could not be more grateful that this many people listen to what I have to say.
Although no one knows that it is I behind the account, the most important thing has always been to just get the message out. I hope to grow the organization in the future, leading it to be more inclusive of those with different opinions because, in the end, that’s the end goal: to educate people into making their own stance on current issues.
This was my first time starting an account that has grown so much in less than a month, and I am very glad that I took a chance. Although social media doesn’t have well-intended effects when we spend too much time comparing ourselves to others or getting lost in the internet world, it is definitely a great way to get information to other people. In an era of information, taking steps towards rightful change is exactly what we need, and I’m very happy to see so many more accounts that serve to raise awareness for issues not everyone is aware of.