There is no doubt, then, that social media have removed the barriers to collective action and allowed us to exercise our Constitution-given rights more easily. But is the LGBT community harnessing these tools to the greatest extent that it can?
I will submit that it does not. The LGBT community has yet to fully realize the potential of social media, and thus is not yet operating at maximum capacity.
The problem, I wrote, is fragmentation: the LGBT community is so segmented and self-isolated in its current form that we are hindering our own ability to organize online. This has serious implications for our ability to undertake collective actions:
When we isolate ourselves in our own blogs and side-projects, we are limiting our collective power and our potential for broad and far-reaching collective action. To maximize our social media efficiency, we must eliminate that segmentation.
I will now discuss how we can overcome this barrier and join together as a singular, unified movement, online. My "prescription" may at first seem startling, naive, or unrealistic, but I fervently believe that it will greatly increase our ability to organize quickly and easily. It will revolutionize the way we interact, engage, and act together as a movement and make us a true political force to be reckoned with.
If the problem we are currently facing is segmentation, then the only solution is to foster greater unity. We need to bring the entire LGBT movement together in one place where we can discuss the issues, organize collective actions, and spark one another's creative activism.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, the African American community had such a meeting place: the church. The Black Church was the anchor of their movement, acting as a physical meeting place where many of the most famous acts of non-violent civil disobedience were first crafted (Source). Having a cultural and geographical center where the African American community could come together, air their grievances, and organize protests allowed the movement to truly flourish.
The LGBT community does not have this sort of social center. Yet.
The LGBT movement really is an example of a "digital movement" - one that is primarily shaped and organized online. Even though the Stonewall Riots occurred long before the invention of the web, LGBT advocacy as a true social movement was weaned on the internet. Given this history - as well as the fact of how small the LGBT community is and how geographically dispersed we are - it is only appropriate that we create this sort of central hub online. One does not yet exist, and that needs to change, for the benefit of our activism.
In the most basic of terms, what I am proposing is an LGBT mega-site where everyone in the LGBT community can come together to engage their fellow advocates, bounce ideas off one another, and organize collective actions. There is no doubt that such an "online hub" for LGBT activism will ignite this movement and greatly increase our ability to advocate for our rights.
What would such a hub look like? What would it offer to LGBT advocates, and how would it bring us together in a way that is currently missing from our movement's online activity? I will now lay out some of the central, defining characteristics of this LGBT mega-site in order to give you a clearer picture as to exactly what I am proposing.