COLUMN: Using Social Media for Social Change
woke.pdf, a Chippewa Valley-based Instagram page, provides education, resources
What does it mean to be “woke” anyways? So you posted a black square on #blackouttuesday, so you’ve read a couple books about white privilege – what’s the next step?
Continued and intentional self-education is necessary, but it’s not enough if the information you’re consuming is not being put into practice. With the concept of being “woke” becoming more and more desirable, the frequency of performative activism has also risen.
I created woke.pdf on Instagram after the murder of George Floyd and the protests that took place over summer 2020. I saw how everyone was rapidly sharing and consuming infographics, which helped spread the word quickly and efficiently over Instagram stories. This method of sharing information became an essential part of the movement. Instagram and Twitter were necessary apps to stay up to date on what is occurring on the ground. Live footage filled our timelines, showing us just how bad things had gotten before the people took to the streets to try and do something about it.
After seeing how informational posts took over Instagram stories throughout the month of June 2020, I saw a place where I could make a direct impact.
sophia flood elyafi
I began woke.pdf as a resource to educate others and myself on everything from forgotten Black historical figures to direct mutual aid organizations in the state. After seeing how informational posts took over Instagram stories throughout the month of June 2020, I saw a place where I could make a direct impact.
I knew I needed to bring a different perspective and style to the table to mix it up and make our page relevant, especially in a community that already advocates so well for itself. As someone who has been heavily involved on campus with Spanish Club, African Student Association, and the Commission for Equity in Student Matters, and off-campus with Eau Claire Justice League, I’ve seen firsthand how this community can come together in times of need.
This project was an undertaking I could not take up on my own, so I asked around for help (coincidentally) from people I knew through Instagram. Lexi Kane and Miranda Copeland serve as assistant graphic designers for the account. Lexi makes posts on organizations and trans lives we want to highlight. Miranda makes amazing illustrations that have been incorporated into some of our posts. The page has been up and running since the beginning of July.
Right now the page has around 940 followers – many of those from when one of our posts went semi-viral last August after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. In the future, we will run more month-long campaigns, like our daily posts for Black History Month, in order to remain consistent and highlight as many minoritized groups as possible.
There is a strong community of people in Eau Claire who want to make a difference and can do just that if they had a shared cause, resources, and up-to-date information.
Sophia Flood Elyafi is a recent graduate of UW-Eau Claire, where she majored in Spanish. She is an active member of the Eau Claire Justice League executive board and Eau Claire community. woke.pdf can be found on Instagram and Facebook @woke.pdf and on Twitter @woke_pdf.