Dr. King and Social Media in the 21st Century

Before the onset of the computer age, letters, newspapers, phones and telegrams were among the communications tools used most frequently. During the 60’s when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was spreading his message of non-violence, attracting like-minded sympathizers as well as strangers to the cause of civil rights, he used those traditional means to get in touch and stay in touch.
Today, we use social media to stay in touch with the people we know as well as to get in touch with people we don’t yet know, for various reasons, including persuasion to our causes. Maybe we have a concern, like human rights, organic farming, the environment or war, or modern slavery. If we want to maximize the number of people we might contact who share our concerns, we use social media to reach out to them. If we think back to the use of Twitter to unite and reinforce the Occupy Wall Street Movement, or the Egyptian citizenry who used social media to schedule and stage marches, we realize that social media that ultimately toppled both a political party’s chances of success in our country and an entire government in Egypt.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was a philosopher and civic leader whose ideas were expressed eloquently. His amazing vision could be shared with like minded individuals as well as to persuade virulent opponents and those who opposed his ideas and philosophy. The changes in our country today owe Dr. King a large debt. President Obama is proof of King’s message that through hard work, perseverance and the ultimate sacrifice injustice can be overcome and justice brought to fruition.

But what if King had had Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc., to get his message out during the 1960s? How would King have persuaded his audience using appeals to ETHOS? How would he have persuaded his audience using appeals to PATHOS? How would he have persuaded his audience using appeals to LOGOS? Choose one or more of these appeals and explain how Kind would have used social media to get his message across.

In honor of Dr. King, think about the kinds and ways he would he’d make use of social media today. Then, please share your ideas with the rest of of us.

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