In Defense of Click-tivism

There’s a lot to be said for the power that social media holds when spreading the pro-life message, and Students for Life of America is no stranger to the benefits of expanding online. We build petitions through various websites, host online training and networking webcasts, and create numerous blog posts all to reach out and engage people in our message. But how effective are social media tools when it comes to saving lives directly? What impact do online resources have on significantly enhancing the pro-life movement?

Well, as it turns out, quite a bit. One of the benefits of using online resources like social media sites is that they allow small organizations with little to no full-time staff to make a difference simply by having an effective message to post and making a few smart decisions. Efforts like these have led to women changing their minds and deciding to carry their children full-term. Take, for instance, a story one of our 2011 Missionaries recently told us. After posting a string of pro-life Facebook statuses, she received a call from someone who had a friend contemplating abortion. Amazingly enough, our Missionary had never met the young man who decided to call her for help that night, but he was moved by the strength in her posts and was confident that she would be able to suggest how to approach his friend and refer her to local resources. Ultimately, the young woman felt supported and confident enough to carry to term and is now excitedly awaiting the arrival of her child!

We constantly receive feedback like this from subscribers and online supporters regarding how our social media outreach has helped change the hearts and minds of people from across the nation. Just recently, we received feedback from a young supporter who had stumbled across our Abolish Abortion website at the age of 13. Admittedly, she held no strong convictions for or against the pro-life movement, but was compelled to take advantage of the resources we’ve listed on the site to research it further. Moved by what she found, she then made her way to her church’s library and read every book available on the topic of abortion. Because of her dedication to uncovering the truth, she is now an avid pro-life supporter and credits Students for Life of America for instilling in her the desire to learn more about the movement.

The fact is that by using social media sites, we are able to educate and activate our young generation, who is so prone to utilizing them. Online resources provide credibility to our work and are paramount in saving lives. Not only are those in need able to target specific resources and issues, pro-lifers are able to network with one another and provide the entire movement with success stories like these.

Today, over 60% of young people get their news online. The majority of our young generation spend more than 7 hours a day connected to online media via their phone, iPod or computer, and often on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Hulu. People of all generations turn to Google for answers, and I have personally seen the hearts and minds of students changed when they search for the words “unborn baby” and find a picture of a proud parent’s 3D ultrasound, or when a scared girl is able to locate a pro-life pregnancy help center when searching the word “abortion”.

With the internet and social media sites playing a key role in almost everything these days, it’s crucial that we apply them when fighting in the greatest human rights battle in the history of the world, and Students for Life of America has used social media sites every step of the way when building our organization. Our field program, which hires staffers to travel to hundreds of college campuses every year to train young pro-lifers, relies heavily on Facebook and Twitter. We use these sites to find leaders, target specific audiences, contact them, and arrange in-person meetings to finalize plans. We use Facebook to start discussions, test messages, and create buzz about what our organization is doing. On Twitter, SFLA engages in pro-life conversation and keeps followers up-to-date on the happenings of the voice of the pro-life movement. We use YouTube to post undercover videos, training workshops and pro-life activity ideas for students in groups nationwide. We even use Skype to speak face-to-face with campus leaders, offer advice on how to grow and expand student groups, and, most importantly, build and solidify our network of relationships.

It’s clear that with the expansion of online resources, social media sites have and will continue to play an integral role in the outreach and education of our message. Pro-lifers who utilize online resources are able to give a voice for the voiceless and give back the power to the majority of Americans who want to witness the end of abortion in our lifetime.