Hilary Clinton claimed the birth of a ‘civil society 2.0’, a hypercritical society where each of us is able to become a digital revolutionary. The Internet has made it possible to create initiatives that are leaderless, decentralized and not bound to any organizational hierarchy. Now it is us – the young generation – working with websites instead of offices and followers instead of paid staff to create activist movements. Activism now enables us to reclaim power. It is an emotional feeling of excitement obtained by circumventing preset rigidities and hierarchies.
Get Me is a product of our time, of our generation. It is an online magazine, featuring and supporting political and societal initiatives.
Reflecting on a time in which we measured activism by causes and not by tools – a time in which people literally had to fight for democracy and where activism caused social upheaval – it seems that nowadays we have forgotten what real activism is. Shirin Mirachor believes we haven’t.
Get Me is a product of our time, of our generation. It is an online magazine, featuring and supporting political and societal initiatives. Set in a visual framework, it is targeting the cool crowd, addressing them through individual stories from inspiring pioneers of our time. The actual idea started as a backlash while working as a brand strategist for VICE London. ‘ VICE always was about assumable symbolic values. None of their featured magazines were actually communicating the vision of the young generation’. As a reaction to this, around two years ago, Shirin created ‘ Get Me’. Get Me is an online magazine that visualizes the balance between aesthetics and ethics, while capturing the vision of the youth culture. The goal of Get Me is to turn a magazine into a platform for these youngsters. It raises their awareness by communicating through identifiable role models and by encouraging them to become part of an activist movement. But how did Get Me turn this idea into reality?
‘Nowadays the Internet is the most powerful tool. It displays content, ideas and concepts that are made accessible for a broad audience in a very fast pace’. Seeing the Internet as a practical and time-related tool, Get Me uses its effects to fulfil the goal of creating a diverse, urban platform. However, Get Me remains critical towards the power and effects of the digitalization era. By investing more in offline events and interactive video campaigns, Get Me aims to develop a strong connection between youngsters that are interested in politics and society at large.
The project VOTE2017, a collaboration between Get Me and Glamcult, went viral within a couple of weeks. ‘With VOTE2017 we combined politics with coolness, lightness and desire to attract the young urban crowd in Rotterdam and Amsterdam’. Several short films showed the two cities’ representatives talking about their individual reasons behind participating in the Dutch elections in March. Despite the success of VOTE2017, Get Me realized there was the necessity to provide an offline addition to the online content. ‘We created Political Utopia: a research project where young people were invited to debate and discuss their futuristic visions on society, politics, sustainability and humanity’.
To visualize utopian ideals that are constantly subject to change is quite the challenge. Nonetheless, when our generation thinks of an ideal society, they visualize cities instead of countries. In a way, cities have become the identifier of our personalities. They visualize cities that are mosaics of cultures, reflecting diversity and equality for all citizens. They visualize a technocracy that still deals with a number of democratic values. It becomes more and more clear that Generation Y is a generation of realistic dreamers; scoping the potential of optimism offered by society, but simultaneously holding onto their realistic vision on the future.
Activism nowadays does not favour the radical, protest-oriented idea anymore. Activism as a definition as well as an action is adapting to the zeitgeist. It has become fluid, dynamic, almost omnipresent. It is rather a mindset than it is an action.
Activism nowadays does not favour the radical, protest-oriented idea anymore. Activism as a definition as well as an action is adapting to the zeitgeist. It has become fluid, dynamic, almost omnipresent. It is rather a mindset than it is an action. However, activism as a mindset does not activate change, unless it turns into a collective mindset. Collective thought is hard to achieve in an era of individualism and, therefore, one of activism’s biggest challenges. While the Internet offered us accessibility and a sense of community, it also caused dispersal. It is certain that if activism wants to reach its full potential, a collective mindset among the realistic dreamers of today is essential. Activism today might call for a collective mindset instead of protest; yet portraying activism as something less radical does not mean it is less powerful.
Written by: Katharina Uhe and Sarah – edited by Joannette van der Veer