The phrase “digital activist” was coined by an Oxford University professor in the late 1980s.
Since then, it’s been a catch-all for any activist who wants to stand up for what they believe in online.
But the word’s not as much of a catch as you might think.
Here’s how to avoid the label.1.
Don’t use the term “digital advocate” in its traditional sense of “an activist.”2.
Don the “digital” tag, instead.
“Digital” means different things to different people, so avoid calling yourself a digital activist if you don’t feel comfortable with the word.3.
Don a more modern use of the word “ally,” such as a member of a national or international nonprofit, government agency, or political action committee.
The term “activist” means a leader who stands up for principles or goals.4.
Don name yourself using the phrase “an ally” rather than “digital.”
The term has become so widespread that a few people use it for everyone.
The reason is because we have to be able to say that we’re not just “a digital ally,” but we’re also “an advocate for the values of the digital era.”5.
Don “dance around” the term.
It can be confusing to people who aren’t familiar with it.
When I was researching this article, I asked several people why they use the word digital ally, and the most common answer was that the word is too vague to describe someone who doesn’t stand in opposition to the status quo.
“But then I thought, why isn’t it more clear?”
They said that it’s not clear that the term should be used as a verb.
That’s because the term doesn’t require a noun, and it’s often used as an adjective.
That makes it hard to tell who’s “an online activist” or “a member of the Internet community.”
So instead, use the words “digital,” “alive,” “connected,” or “digital advocacy.”6.
Don use the “dynamic” tag.
People who identify as “dramatically active” often use the phrase, “digital community” in a way that doesn’t make clear that they’re not really an advocate for that community.
For example, many people who say they’re “digital activists” don’t want to be identified as “digital allies.”
Instead, they might say they “danced around” a particular community, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit, in order to avoid that label.
This is especially true of those who say “digital activism” in their bio, which is often vague about what they do.7.
Don get a digital friend.
You don’t have to use the name “digital friend” to get a friend on Facebook or Twitter.
Just make sure that you use the digital acronym instead.
For instance, you could say, “I’m a digital ally” on Facebook, “an active digital activist” on Twitter, “a Facebook activist” for Twitter, and “a Twitter activist” in your bio.8.
Use the word online as a synonym for online.
You can be a “social media activist” online, or you can be someone who “works online” online.
I’ve found that the two are often used interchangeably, which helps avoid the “online” tag in people’s bio.9.
Don be upfront about your role in the online community.
I use the terms online and online activist, but there’s a difference between a “friend” on the Internet and a “real-life” online person.
For some people, being an online activist can be just another term for online activism, such a “buddy” on social media or an email list.
If you want to have a meaningful connection with someone on the internet, don’t let the term define your role.
Instead, use “digital advocates” to refer to a broader group of people who are actively online.10.
Don take the “social” tag too seriously.
Social media has become a big part of people’s daily lives.
So when someone posts a picture of themselves on Facebook and asks for your opinion, it can be quite awkward.
But if you’re not actively online, then it’s even more awkward.
If your online persona isn’t a part of the larger social conversation, then your online presence can be viewed as a way of deflecting attention away from what’s really important to you, such the social issues that matter most to you.11.
Don share information and information about your digital activism.
Many people who identify with the term digital activist share articles, podcasts, videos, and other digital resources.
It’s okay to share information that isn’t critical of the status-quo, but it’s also okay to not share information about yourself, your community, or the issues that affect you most.12.
Don say you’re