Getting to know "Digital activism"

Digital activism is a type of activism that makes audiences of the Internet users  the main platform for mobilization and action online. Some people may be known as Slacktivism or Cyberactivism. Digital activism uses the Internet as a medium for data distribution. It is given its capability to reach massive people. Slacktivism provides new ways to engage protesters and political mobilization in many countries from all around the world.

How it important

You probably have thoughts in your head about why digital activism is important. Online activism has been proved that it is effective for grassroots development and gives a better approach to engage people who are demonstrating. Furthermore, online activities can be crucial in nations where open spaces are extremely directed or are beneath military control. In such a situation, online actions are a higher alternative than possibly physically unsafe ” live ” activities.

Communication Has Changed Our Lives!

Do you know that digital activism has not just arrived at a time with technology? It has been around for a long time!

It was tough when delivering the message without the internet. Back then, there was a one-way commutation which audiences cannot give any feedback or responses. 

If people need the government or someone to be interested in problems, the most noticeable is broadcasting news whether in the newspaper or on television so that the messages will reach society. In most cases, the media will report something that is currently big issue and trendy on the headline: big protest is one of them.

Protesting in front of important places is one of the expressing forms. However,  these actions would not be successful every time because if the journalists do not report the news, people’s voices will not be loud enough to claim their rights. It was very hard in the past.

As time goes by, technology takes a role in human lives. Expressing is no longer difficult due to  two-way communication nowadays, both senders and receivers can communicate with each other. The advancement of technology becomes a part of our life because it is so beneficial: fast, comfortable, portable, and easy to access information. Our voice will not disappear. 

Digital activism across Twitter, Twitter is often the starting point for making our voices louder. Because Twitter is a free space platform that allows people to freely express. If you desire to make your stories or voices more interesting, you can use hashtags! To make it go further

Can social media create a social movement?

No denying the fact that the controversial topic that has been discussed on social media will get more attractive from society. Especially on Twitter, use the shortcut for hashtag to create the engagement and to easily understand what people are talking about. When people use the same hashtag more and more it will create more social movement to the mass audiences, also it could be viral overnight. 

Not so long ago, the hashtag become a hot topic on Twitter (viral oversea) #MilkTeaAlliance. The beginning of the hashtag is against the ideal of One-China Policy but later on, they further  the hashtag to the campaign that becomes an anti-authoritarian symbol.




The Beginning of a Hot Potato!

Bright Vachiravit, Thai actor

Bright Vachiravit, Thai actor from 2gether the series that created heat discussion among Thai and China and led to increase in followers. He has retweeted one of the post with picture of Hong Kong and called it a country. The incident widely displeases Chinese fans. Many of them corrected him by saying both Hong Kong and Taiwan are part of China which led to drama for this young actor.



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View original Tweet on Twitter 

Later, Bright apologized to Chinese fans, but it was too late because the internet had caught up its own speed. Some fans have been digging into some old pictures of him and his girlfriend where he left the comment ‘so beautiful like Chinese woman’ His girlfriend has simply replied ‘what’ in Thai, but Chinese netizens interpret it as an implication to support Hong Kong and Taiwan independence.  

After the online warfare, the hashtag has gone beyond the countries allies with Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan as it empowered youths to continue to challenge and advocate for the fall of authoritarianism. 

This battle was started from the online comments of the actor and his girlfriend who sparked a wave of dissatisfaction with Chinese netizens

Thai netizens are using social media to fight back and to protect Bright Vachiravit. Their criticism has become more widespread and opens up the Chinese political issues that Taiwan and Hong Kong are already concerned about from one Chinese policy. Meanwhile, Thai Twitter players have expressed support for Taiwan and Hong Kong’s pro-democracy stance while reflecting the accumulated dissatisfaction with the Thai political system over the past seven years.

Milk Tea Alliance

From Twitter war, it led to hashtags #MilkTeaAlliance where Thai agreed upon the campaign to support Hong Kong and Taiwan against Chinese aggression. Shortly the hashtags transformed the anti-dictatorial platform so called Milk Tea Alliance movement.




The hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance is going viral in social media rapidly not only because of the creative name but also as something that people from many countries can share and be a pun that people in Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong easily understand in retaliation for attacks against them from Chinese diplomats and other authorities to restrict online freedom of expression.  

People know the variety of tea and drinking tea culture are from Asia such as Thai milk tea, Hongkong black milk tea and Taiwan pearl milk tea. But who would expect that it will be a symbol of a new generation in Asia?

Online movement become physical movement

More than 200,000 of Twitter users using #MilkTeaAlliance, the online movement further to physical movement that takes place in many countries. Netizens from Hong Kong and Taiwan posted messages of support for Thai activists. Student activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan organized physical rallies in solidarity with Thai protesters.

Before the milk tea alliance  movement, there was a protest in Thailand showing symbolic gestures against dictatorship by flashing a three-finger. The meaning of the three fingers raised by the protests in Thailand is expressions of Peace, Freedom and Brotherhood which originated from the French Revolution. 

Three fingers protest, Thailand

This is not a situation that has just happened in Thailand for the first time because previously, a three-fingered symbol was used in 2014 to combat the coup and the exercise of state power.

It shows that it is not just Hong Kong and Taiwan that fall under the power of dictatorship, but Thailand is also facing the same problem. This situation happened before the milk tea alliance hashtag or #MilkTeaAlliance.

What has changed from this movement 

After the online warfare, the hashtag has gone beyond borderless the countries allies with Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan as it empowered youths to continue to challenge and advocate for the fall of authoritarianism. 

Myanmar has joined the party 

People in Myanmar took to the streets across the country fighting against military coup, showing the shared symbol and solidarity that was growing across Asia as a push for democracy. Many activists in Thailand, Taiwan and Hongkong took to the streets helping Myanmar calling for democracy. This is not just a campaign but it is further more like we become a family.

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The hashtag has been used  more than 11 million times over the past year. The movement has grown into a global pro-democracy led by protesters and activists. Twitter launch the emoji for #MilkTeaAlliance to show that the support to the online movement brings  pro-democracy activists across East and Southeast Asia.

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Happy songkran day said Tsia Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, tweeted on her personal Twitter account during the online war. It seems that she supports the movement indirectly. 

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“Thank you our friends Thailand ” said Cheng Wen-Tsan the Mayor of Taoyuan City tweet on his personal Twitter account and put the hashtag. In this position it seems that not only Taiwan people want to against the One-China Policy but also politicians. 

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“Support our Thai fellows in their fight for democracy” A post on Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong’s Twitter account used the hashtag Milk tea alliance to show to the support. 

The movement does not have the result yet but it does not mean nothing. People will raise awareness, gain more information and collect their angry emotions to fight back authoritarian regimes. 

Here are some list of social activism  that you can follow

#MeToo

The movement was found in 2006 by Tarana Burke, social activist and sexual harassment survivor. The purpose is that to raise awareness people that sexual harassment should not be normalised by society. What they have done is that the movement reach out sexual harrasment survivor to show that they are not alone and people being ware of sexual assault.

#BlackLiveMatter

Black live matter movement began in 2013 after the not guilty verdict against George Zimmerman, who shot dead unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. People are protesting against police brutality and racial injustice of black people. Protests brew up again across the USA in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd, who died in May after a police officer knelt on his neck during his arrest in Minneapolis.

#FridayForFuture

Friday For Future was founded by Greta Thunberg after protests outside the Swedish parliament. It is an international movement for students to skip class to participate calling for political leaders and the government to take action about climate change. In 2019, a global strike gathered more than one million strikers in 2,200 strikes organised in 125 countries.

#StopAsianHate

Stop asian hate is the movement racism and anti-asian-violence rallies that happen across the U.S in 2021. Violence and hatred for Asians-Americans has beat a record 150% in the past year after the Covid-19 pandemic. This has caused Asians and Asain-American, to face a great fear even afraid to walk the streets, so #StopAsianHate is going to be used against Hate Crimes and as a voice of Asian-American who have been threatened even more which is influenced by White Supremacy and Xenophobia.

#MarchForOurLives

The crime of shooting 17 students in America, a tragedy caused by "Right of possession of a gun" March 14, 2018 the shocking incident of the mass shooting of 17 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to the movement of students across the USA calling for sensible gun violence prevention policies that save lives.

If you have seen any digital activism, you can share in the comment!