Amplifying voices of respect and tolerance across Northern Ireland
Author: Nick Pickles
Every day, Twitter is used to promote social change, challenge viewpoints and discuss the most pressing issues facing communities across the globe.
As a public platform, our users’ power to challenge prejudice and division is a very real phenomenon, as recognised in a study from academics Orna Young and Paul Reilly, commissioned by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council. They found that “social media provided a ‘safe space’ or distance for individuals and groups to express their views on what may be viewed as emotive issues.” The authors describe the importance of creating opportunities to hear alternative viewpoints and positions that may not be available ‘offline’.
This is why we work directly with NGOs across the UK, training hundreds of community groups and activists on how to make the most of Twitter as platform for amplification. These groups are committed to challenging prejudice and discrimination, building stronger communities and calling out those that seek to create division.
Last week in Belfast we took this philosophy one step further.
Working alongside our partners in the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (@CDPB_NI) and the Washington Ireland Program (@WIPLive), we asked what campaigns need to be created, what ideas have not been discussed and what more can be done to ensure that the loudest voices belong to those who want a peaceful and tolerant future in Northern Ireland.