Two weeks ago, I was introduced to the idea of quiet activism and began to question my view of digital activism as somehow lazier or less effective than ‘louder’ forms of activism such as marches and protests. These notions were challenged by this piece which argues that introverts may not necessarily feel comfortable going out in public and being around large crowds to show support for causes they care about. Rather, the author of the piece defines an activists as “individuals who are actively working to make problems and injustices known and pushed to the forefront of people’s minds.” Over the past two weeks, I have begun to engage in quiet activism by favoriting and Retweeting content from Susan Cain (@susancain) and the Quiet Revolution’s (@livequiet) Twitter pages.
Looking over what I have Retweeted the past two weeks, I noticed that I was most inclined to Retweet content that I most closely related to. For instance, I Retweeted the below Tweet because it recounts an experience that not only has to do with my being an introvert, but my being an introvert with an Asian heritage as well.
— Quiet Revolution (@livequiet) April 16, 2017
I found the Tweet incredibly compelling because it brought attention to a frustration I have long felt but almost never seen discussed. I personally view my introversion as a personality trait that I have in common with my father, who is introverted and Caucasian. My mother, by contrast, is Chinese and incredibly extroverted. It bothers me that the combination of my Asian descent and my introversion could potentially perpetuate a stereotype even though in reality I know these two facts about me are completely unrelated.
I also Retweeted the below tweet about the power writing as a means of communication for introverts. I did so because I similarly view writing as a powerful medium through which I can express my inner thoughts and feelings.
— Quiet Revolution (@livequiet) April 18, 2017
Lastly, I Retweeted a Tweet about the potential pitfalls of being a night owl because I am one myself.
Should night owls should try to change their sleep patterns to adjust to the early-rising world?: https://t.co/10xRUOIJ9d
— Susan Cain (@susancain) April 22, 2017
After noticing that I felt most compelled to Retweet content I found relevant to my own life, I find the messages we have been hearing the past two weeks about the importance of knowing and connecting with your audience in a podcast all the more meaningful. For example, Episode 25 of the podcast This Rhetorical Life features individuals who discuss what they have learned through podcasting and share the elements of making podcasts that they particularly enjoy. Karrieann discusses her experience of learning how and to what extent she should adjust her accent while podcasting. In sharing this story, the part of the audience Karrieann will most relate to is likely those who have had similar experiences in their lives. She explains that she tries “to connect the topics we discuss with whatever exigence I can identify that would help give voice to marginalized groups.”
Other podcaster-specific examples of audience could be discussed here, but what I particularly appreciate about This Rhetorical Life is its recognition of the fact that not all people prefer to process information aurally. Transcripts are posted alongside each episode, which I personally found incredibly useful in following along with the podcast. By recognizing that people are different and making an effort to accommodate multiple preferences, This Rhetorical Life embodies the notion of authenticity that I feel underlies much of the content posted online by the Quiet Revolution.
For instance, the above Tweet about being a night owl does not necessarily have any direct relation to introversion. However, I believe it was posted because it presents a dilemma similar to the one many introverts face. Just as many introverts are learning and working in classroom and business environments not suited to their personal preferences, night owls may be on daily schedules that are not suited to their personal ‘chronotype.’