Social media is getting more attention than ever before. In 2015, a Pew Research report documented that in 2005 merely four percent of American adults utilized social media platforms. Their recent assessment however, exposed that in 2016, as many as 69 percent of US adults are active in regularly sharing, tweeting and liking. Clearly, this swift rise indicates that adoption is unlikely to decline. One of these platforms, Instagram, has attained 700 million monthly users since 2017 - gaining more than double the engagement than even Facebook.
There's no doubt, that if motivated individuals and celebrities alike used these platforms to market a cause, this cause would be brought into the limelight, enlivened by public conversation and finally, manifested in real, tangible action.
Although Instagram is renowned as a platform for narcissists, the attention seeker wanting a #likeforlike, the vain fawning over their #bodygoals and #selfie's, its offer of a global platform for positive advocacy can be seen to redeem it. As much as it can be a nuisance, it can admirably facilitate social change. Here are Atmo's top 4 influencers that have use the power of image for good:
1. Alexandra Elle
An Instagram figure of whom has used her portraits and poetry to establish and empower the identity of a black, female woman to the masses - her creation of popular hashtags including #effyourbeautystandardssuch which promotes body positivity and individuality has been reposted by users over 2,834,920 times. Her example demonstrates the influence that organic, original content on social media can have.
2. NatGeo's Paul Nicklen
Regularly posting stunning images to his Instagram feed, Canadian Biologist and Photographer for the National Geographic, Paul Nicklen, has used his famed status to bring attention to the endangered and command the public to make a stand. From displaying polar bears to vulnerable seals at risk due to a fragile ecosystem, Nicklen reminds his audience that ultimately "it’s people like you who demand politicians and governments and organizations to do the right thing".
3. Emma Watson
An ambassador for the feminist HeforShe movement, Watson has harnessed the power of image in her Instagram account to advocate everything from social change, gender equality, to environmental friendliness, sustainable design.
4. Iskra Lawrence
A model that intentionally produces visuals to #clapback at body shaming and female idealization, Lawrence has inspired an army of women to accept themselves as they are. In fact, so powerful are her messages that she was invited to speak a TEDx event where she put her images into words, giving the audience advice on how to remain healthy, not just in body, but in mind and in spirit.