The Gist


Double tap to learn more, because there’s things in our society we need to talk about and the squares on the young's Instagram accounts are turning more and more into a vehicle for change.

/ 29 July 2020

Quick one: what do you first check in the morning? Most would say, their phones. There’s no denying that how one’s mobile devices have turned into something that’s more than just a luxury–skimming and going about one’s day through one’s phone. And that’s exactly what makes it an effective tool for advocacy.

For the privileged youth, the power to harness change and action lies at the very palm of their hands—social media. For revolutions now, art has been always been linked with the ability to communicate a person’s opinion or interest. Even the famous Picasso, known for Cubism which is art that melds reality with visual representation has this to say, “How is it possible to be uninterested in other men and by virtue of what cold nonchalance can you detach yourself from the life that they supply so copiously?” He adds, “No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.”

Fast forward to 2020, new visions, new ethical standards, new battles. Art has transcended time to finally take up space in the internet as a means of advocacy. Carrying with them are battles that’s left from past revolutions that still remain true even today.

Such are the Pride protests that started during the Stonewall Riots led by Marsha P. Johnson; and the fight with Black Lives Matter Movement as coined by Alicia Garza and further fueled today by the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor. The latter just proved how powerful social media has become nowadays with its influence on the #StopHateForProfit campaign which a lot of businesses signed up for against social media platforms particularly, Instagram and Facebook. In this case, businesses are withdrawing their ad placements because the platforms mentioned have loose moderation on hate speech which generally affects the public’s behaviors and interests on hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.

With the accessibility of platforms as means of spreading information, the placards of today take the form of Instagram squares. Just a bit of swipe, a link for a cause, and a caption to convey further knowledge, one can easily turn eyes and interests toward their favor. Then a sprinkle of aesthetic with a hard-hitting punchline can top it all off. Of course it comes with wisdom that essential research should be thoroughly conducted to make claims stronger. And considering the wit and playfulness of today’s generations, advocacies now take on smarter and colorful approaches but in a way, adamant conviction should always come first.

We talked to the founders of Queerspace, Casey Eridio and Bea Subido, on how they started their fun and informative advocacy page. Taking space in Instagram, they tackle LGBTQ+ topics in ways that hook us through quirky and colorful graphics, swipe baits, and interviews, while keeping their dignified stance on equality and rights.

What made you choose Instagram as your primary platform?

We figured Instagram is the best platform for us to share our kind of content because we wanted to tap into a younger target audience without limiting ourselves to reaching only young people. Since most of our target audience spend a lot of their time on Instagram, it’s the best platform for us.

What resonated you to the topic of gender equality and rights? What are necessary steps in building Queerspace?

We always wondered about building a place where all queer people can hang out, be themselves, and talk about everyone’s shared queer experience. It started with a physical space, but we can’t afford it right now and we are in the midst of a pandemic so we pushed for an online platform instead.

We had this 6-week plan where we just listed down our mission, vision, goals, etc. and had a target launch date. Sometimes projects like these get pushed aside so it’s important to really set everything up before jumping into it so we can be more intentional about it!

In social media, how would you thrive in putting out a successful voice for your advocacy? Or do you even measure success in it?

Initially, our goal was to focus on engagement and open conversations with each other via comments, etc. It was only when we started that we found out most of our followers preferred private conversations, anonymous replies, and sharing on their stories. So, we stopped measuring our success through engagement.

Instead, we shifted into the mindset that not everyone is ready to engage with us publicly especially in the Philippines where a lot of people remains in the closet. We just started measuring our success through private messages from people who reach out about our advocacy. Social media is really saturated, but we think that finding your voice is easier if you have a clear idea of who you’re trying to reach out. Obviously you can’t reach everyone and it seems overwhelming to talk to people on Instagram as a whole, so it’s important to see them as individuals. It’s not hard to measure success that way, because one message or comment will make you feel like you’ve delivered your message.

To show you more about how advocacy pages work, here are more pages that channels different causes:

Hacktibista Artego Art Not Terrorism Rated Ahrt