On July fourth, 1776, one of the most successful and arguably influential revolutions was set into motion. Kicked off with the paper equivalent of a Kickstarter, the declaration of independence was also a declaration of war. Even then, when communication was only through written letters that took weeks and months to deliver, the written word was critical in stirring up change that affects thousands and has an impact on this day.
From April 14-June 15th 1989, a movement formed, dedicated to reform and change. Beginning with students first, it was eventually joined by workers, mothers and fathers, people old and young. Like wildfire, a movement arose from nothing. Known as Tiananmen square, this event is usually depicted by the famous tankman, an icon so powerful that he was instrumental in the destruction of the Berlin Wall. But there is another, the key takeaway from Tiananmen square. It was an event done by people with a fraction of the communication options available today. With mere emails and phone calls, the world was bigger then. Still, in a matter of months, millions were rallied in a movement that still serves as an iconic reminder of what can happen when people stand together for change.
Starting December 8th, 2010, Through a wave of protests and uprisings the potential of social media was demonstrated with remarkable effect. Emerging in Tunisia the wave swept up Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. Known as Arab Spring, this event known primarily for placing these countries in various states of upheaval has another important but overlooked distinction: multiple simultaneous revolutions instigated by social media. Never before had so many revolutions been directly connected nor had they been so quickly, for that matter.
2018 is far from a peaceful time. It is rife with civil, social and societal disorder. The United States have several challenges that are being ignored by politicians in favour of polarization and collecting donations from corporate juggernauts. It is now easier than ever to orchestrate protests, sit-ins and walkouts. In fact, an app was integral for organizing the demonstrations that occurred during the Trump inauguration speech. Several websites are dedicated to organizing projects with the intent of civil reform. That being said, in this volatile moment in history Generation Z is in perhaps the best position possible to be pushing these reforms forward.
Generation Z is in the best position to know as it intimately understands the social media platforms that have come to transform the world. Whereas other generations are older and have had to adapt to its usage and essentially rethink how they interface with others, or are too young to look at the world critically, Generation  Z was born into a world of heightened interconnectivity and internet access and is knowledgeable enough to make a global impact.
Our time is now and the direction is forward. This generation is more than capable of tapping into the power of social media; of creating something more than double the size and scope of Arab spring.
After all, if teenagers can build meme trends with just their phones, imagine what a bunch of 18-year-olds could do with laptops and a purpose?
Image Credits: NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/moment-time-courage-tiananmen-squares-tank-man-n122131