#Advocacy: Social Media Activism's Power to Transform Law

41 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017 Last revised: 22 Apr 2017

See all articles by Stacey Steinberg

Stacey Steinberg

University of Florida Levin College of Law

Date Written: January 26, 2017


Attorneys influence the actions of legislators, courts, and community leaders by working alongside social movements. Together, these advocates seek to challenge the status quo by setting precedent that will ensure equality and justice for all individuals. While social movements often use social media to convey their message or to gather support for their cause, many attorneys are unfamiliar with leveraging this powerful new technology.

Social media platforms provide a low-cost, fast, and easy-to-use tool that effectively disseminates information and helps advocates garner support for their cause. However, some social change advocates, including lawyers and policymakers, are hesitant to get involved in social media activities. These advocates are missing unique and powerful opportunities to move their causes forward, and are perhaps doing so at their peril.

Online activism has both amplified the voices of marginalized individuals and shifted national conversations on important legal and social issues. This Article explores the role of social movements in cause-lawyering, and introduces advocates to social media’s role in creating meaningful legal change. It first discusses social movements and community activism in the context of law. Next, this Article illustrates the unique power of online advocacy (often referred to as #activism) to create legal and social reform. This article concludes by proposing that attorneys understand and embrace social media, as it has revolutionized how laws are created and enforced in all aspects of society.

Keywords: Social Movements, Politics, #Activism, Twitter, Movement, Social Media, Social Justice Advocacy, Hashtag, Activism, Facebook

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Steinberg, Stacey, #Advocacy: Social Media Activism's Power to Transform Law (January 26, 2017). 105 Kentucky Law Journal 411, 2016-2017; University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 17-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2906557

Stacey Steinberg (Contact Author)

University of Florida Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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