There is no doubt that one of the most influential uses of social media has been the change that it has driven in society.
On Monday 5 September we saw #OccupyLuthuliHouse, the week before we saw #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh... Human rights activists of all ages know that the easiest and most powerful way to organise any protest is through the medium of social media. Although the incidence of this type of activism has picked up over the last few months in South Africa, it has been used very effectively in the past across the world for example during the Arab Spring protests which toppled the governments in Northern Africa and the Middle East.
Also, when there are attempts by government to shut down access to information or news the public will get their news and the images from protests elsewhere. Facebook now has provision for live streaming video. People can use "Periscope" for real time amateur news provision. Protests can be scheduled on Facebook and co-ordinated on Twitter with the results being uploaded to You Tube. That happened during the Arab Spring when there was a comprehensive attempt by government to shut down access to information.
When a societal campaign “goes viral” such as the #FeesMustFall or #RhodesMustFall authorities would do well to sit up and listen because it is a clear indicator that change is on the horizon.