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Instagram, Activism, and the Instagram Infographic Industrial Complex by Alicia Benis


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*keywords: social media activism, Instagram infographics, performative activism, slacktivism, public sphere* ## Instagram, Activism, and the Instagram Infographic Industrial Complex ## ![enter image description here][42] **Introduction** Social media platforms are vital sites for social movements and activism. These platforms have become spaces where activists can post pictures and videos of protests, use hashtags to archive and tag movement moments, spread awareness on a range of social justice issues, organize protests and actions, and mobilize support for a movement. Social media platforms place and document social movements not only in the public sphere in real life, but also in a “digitally networked public sphere” where online and offline publics interact in their multitudes and complexities (Tufekci, 2017). Social media platforms have proven instrumental in social movements from Black Lives Matter to the Arab Spring uprisings of 2010-2011, and now more recently in the surge of Black Lives Matter uprisings after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, all within the context of the SARS-COV2, or COVID-19, global pandemic. Beyond the use of images, videos, hashtags, or geotags, a seemingly new form of social media activism has emerged and is raising many questions. The *Instagram Infographic* has become a new tool used to spread awareness on a variety of issues, to highlight actions one can take, and provide resources such as donation links, petitions, further readings and other resources. This article explores the rise of Instagram infographics, the criticisms and limits of the Instagram Infographic in activism, the place of such activism in the context of a global pandemic, as well as the future of Instagram infographics in activism in an eventual end of this pandemic. ---------- **Background** The use of social media platforms in activism and social movements The use of social media in social movements is not unique to this current moment of pandemic activism in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the surge in Black Lives Matter protests. One can look back to the origins of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, as well the uprisings in Egypt in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring uprisings in order to understand the role of social media in social movements. Even when people had the ability to gather in-person to protest injustices, many looked to social media for a variety of reasons. In the context of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Zeynep Tufekci (2017) describes how young, tech-savvy activists used platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and were able to “overcome censorship, coordinate protests, organize logistics, and spread humour and dissent” (p. xxii) in the face of a repressive and out of touch Mubarak government. In particular, the Facebook page [“We Are All Khaled Said”][1] named after and created in the wake of the torture and murder of a young Egyptian man by police, demonstrates a salient example of how social media has been traditionally mobilized in social movements. The page was created by Wael Ghonim in order to express his outrage at the murder of the young man. According to Tufekci, the page grew and became a “focal point for dissident political discussion in Egypt” (p. 22). The page would become the site of one of the most important moments in the uprising, when Ghonim posted an event to that page, inviting thousands of people to protest in Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011. These protests would eventually lead to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, something Ghonim would have never imagined (Tufekci, 2017). Similarly, the use of hashtags has been instrumental in social media activism and organizing. They have served as a way to archive or index material on a given topic, and provide rapid retrieval of information on a topic (Bonilla & Rosa, 2015). Semiotically, hashtags also mark the “intended significance of an utterance” and enable users to frame what their posts or comments mean (Bonilla & Rosa, 2015). Consider the origin of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. The hashtag and the subsequent movement were coined by Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, when Garza wrote a Facebook post after hearing the verdict that George Zimmerman, who killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and acquited of manslaughter (Day, 2015). Her post emphasized the idea that Black lives matter, and to accompany the post, Patrisse Cullors reposted Garza’s post using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. With the help of Opal Tometi, Garza and Cullors set up Twitter and Tumblr pages and used them as spaces where people could share stories of why and how #blacklivesmatter (Day, 2015). Thus, the hashtag serves as a place where people can easily retrieve these stories, share them, and it also serves to frame Garza’s comments, as a call to action, one that resonates with people, and one that identifies a diagnosis (see Benford & Snow, 2000, for more on framing): the state does not see Black lives as valuable, thus they engage in violence against Black lives, and the hashtag serves as a rallying cry to get everyone else to understand that Black lives do matter, and that state violence needs to end. Social media platforms have more traditionally served as spaces where political discourse can take place. People who want to engage in conversations about social justice or politics can do so much easier over social media, without the restraints of the physical world, such as needing to live in the correct environment to talk about politics or social issues (Tufekci, 2017). This is especially true for dissidents or minorities, who find “strength and comfort from interactions with like-minded people because they face opposition” either from society at large or the authorities (Tufekci, 2017, p.9). Conversations can be had, resources can be shared, and ideas fostered for political involvement and organizing. The use of geotags can help people “extend their physical presence” when protesting things such as police violence, creating the “digitally networked public sphere” Tufekci talks about (Pearl, 2018). Similar to the hashtag, geotags, or a geographical indication located at the top of an Instagram post, helps people index or archive images and video of in-person protests. In the example of the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters (LAPD HQ) that Ali Rachel Pearl (2018) describes, the difference between the physical space of LAPD HQ and the digital space of the LAPD HQ geotag, is that the digital space is “vastly more expansive because it can contain that which is outside of its physical boundaries” especially since it is a space that is constructed by Instagram users who may not occupy the physical space all the time, and can contain any sort of image that involves users and non-users of Instagram alike. In 2017, in the wake of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, people took to LAPD HQ to protest, many taking pictures and videos and posting them to Instagram with the LAPD HQ geotag. What the geotag enables users to do is leave the “ghosts of our bodies protesting in Instagram’s digital streets” when our physical bodies leave the physical sites of protest (Pearl, 2018). This is an especially useful tool to think about now, in a time when not everyone is able to gather in physical spaces for protest due to the pandemic. Archived images of protests at specific locations, such as LAPD HQ, Ferguson, and even from Minneapolis to New York City can provide inspiration for pandemic activism, and those “ghosts” can serve as a reminder that people are constantly protesting and challenging oppressive systems and structures, even when they cannot physically gather. Lastly, social media platforms can take the place of mainstream media forms in informing people of developments in a movement. They are used to document injustices that spark movements, as was the case with the footage of the murder of George Floyd, and the murder of many other Black people at the hands of police. Social media platforms are also used by many to follow the trajectory of movements, to follow up on protests and actions, to get the latest information about movements or uprisings, or simply to be informed and learn more about what is going on. This is especially the case when mainstream media outlets do little to no reporting on certain movements, or their reporting is quite unsatisfactory or does not accurately depict what is going on on the ground. Tufekci describes CNN’s reporting of the 2011 Egyptian uprising as having captured an “undifferentiated mass of people” whereas on Twitter, the different images were more intimate (p.xxv). Tufekci also describes how one protestor of the Gezi Park protests of 2013 decided to join the protests. The protestor describes how he had only seen small reports of what was happening on television, but no real news of what was going on, and that the “whole thing was driven by Twitter,” and that over the course of the day, he constantly checked Twitter to see what was happening, which finally prompted him to go to Taksim Square and join the protests (p. 70). During the protests of this summer, many mainstream news channels were quick to paint all protests with the large brush of being violent riots, while those on social media reported that it was police who tended to instigate the violence, and that most of the trajectory of the protests was “peaceful” (a term that needs unpacking but that is for another article.) When mainstream media is a tool used to reflect corporate or political interests, it serves as a gatekeeper to what can and cannot be reported on, and how it will be depicted. Social media can be used to subvert that, and provide alternatives for learning about a movement, being informed and getting involved. **Infographics and Instagram Infographics** Infographics, that is, visual representations of data, information, or knowledge that are meant to be clear and represent information, are actually quite old. Early infographics can be traced back to 18th century Scottish economist and engineer William Playfair, who used his “facility for illustration” to make data come to life (Thompson, 2016). A famous infographic of his is one in which he plotted the price of wheat in the United Kingdom against the cost of labor, ultimately showing that wages were rising much more slowly than the cost of the product (Thompson, 2016). ![Chart Shewing the Value of the Quarter of Wheat in Shillings & in Days Wages of a Good Mechanic from 1565 to 1821][2] Playfair introduced other elements to his infographics, such as pie charts, line graphs, and bar graphs, which were all his invention (Otten et al., 2015, p.1902). Infographics are usually understood to be very useful and effective in presenting complex information or data in a visual format, that is “compelling, provides rapidly available information, and is directly useful for decision making purposes” (Otten et al., 2015, p.1901). Infographics take complex data and put them into formats such as data graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, images, and they can be static or animated. One of the reasons why infographics are popular methods of conveying information, according to Otten et al., is that they “leverage the brain’s most dominant capacity — visual processing ” thus making them a faster and effective way of communicating information than text alone (p.1902). This may be able to explain the recent phenomenon of Instagram infographics, and why they are so popular and widely mobilized in the spirit of activism. Just as social media platforms were used to share the video of George Floyd laying on the ground while a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, social media platforms were used to mobilize resources, protest information, lists of where to donate to bail funds, anti-racist reading lists, and other such information. How was all of this information conveyed? Instagram users made use of Instagram’s carousel feature, which allows a user to post up to ten images in a slideshow-like format. This carousel feature has been used by activists, artists, advocacy groups, and individuals to educate and inform “the masses” on topics ranging from anti-racism, defunding the police, mail-in voting, how to shop from Black-owned businesses, and about crises internationally, such as the crisis affecting Lebanon, or femicides in Turkey (Nguyen, 2020). Typically users create these infographics using graphic design tools such as Canva, a platform that is fairly simple to use. Using Canva’s presets and templates, users who may not be well-versed in graphic design or who do not consider themselves artists can easily create infographics. Other users create their own graphics with their own artwork, but the creation of infographics is open to everyone with computer access and literacy skills. What is especially characteristic of the new wave of Instagram slideshows or infographics, is that their creators make use of “wide, chunky typefaces and bold gradient graphics,” (Nguyen, 2020) or generally more pleasing aesthetics to accompany the text. Along with these aesthetics, Instagram infographics are generally accessible, and can act as a primer for some into complex issues, especially when people are intimidated by “jargon-heavy” theoretical texts (Bettens, 2020). ---------- **The criticisms of Instagram Infographics** These popular Instagram infographics are not without limitations or criticisms. The main criticisms of Instagram infographics are, that they risk oversimplifying complex issues, they risk spreading misinformation, they focus on aesthetics, often putting very serious and violent topics and experiences in aesthetically pleasing fonts and colors, and that for many, Instagram infographics constitutes an easy way to participate in “slacktivism” or performative activism with very little effort or following actions. According to sociologist and writer Eve Ewing, infographics, “can be a helpful teaching tool, but some of the ‘racial justice explainer’ posts that go viral grossly oversimplify complex ideas in harmful or misleading ways or flat-out misstate facts,” (Nguyen, 2020). Many times, it is individuals who make infographics, and not organizations or groups of people, which according to Ewing, does not necessarily allow for the individual to be held accountable for any errors and they “ draw on the work of scholars and activists who go uncredited” (Nguyen, 2020). Organizations or activists who create their own infographics draw upon their own research and expertise, and usually take greater accountability if they have made any mistakes. Further, according to [this infographic][3] created by the Instagram account, [@projectunsettlement][4], infographics are prone to slight mistruths because it is a “gargantuan task to explain social issues within the parameters of several Instagram slides” especially when these graphics are lighter on text (@projectunsettlement, 2020). ![enter image description here][5] This account also explains that one of the main issues with certain accounts that create infographics, is that they attempt to make graphics about nearly every crisis in the world, and are usually made by American leftists, who tend to present information on every issue as fact, and not as an analysis of the issue (@projectunsettlement, 2020). This gives infographic creators the ability to water-down certain issues, more often without malicious intent, and they end up being more palatable for certain audiences. A more recent example of a topic that was watered down in a way that left out crucial information, is [this post about Angela Davis][6] created by the account [@soyouwanttotalkabout][7]. The infographic briefly describes Davis’s background in activism, her work in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Black Panther Party, her 1972 trial, and her work as an abolitionist. This infographic, however, left out a crucial aspect of Davis’s politics and what informs her activism; the fact that she identifies as a Marxist and was part of the Communist Party. The post by @soyouwanttotalkabout leaves out this fact, and it also frames Davis as simply an activist, and not necessarily the revolutionary that many consider her to be. In a post by [@wokewhitevoices][8], an account that makes parodies of infographics, the account calls @soyouwanttotalkabout’s exclusion of Davis’ communist politics as [“nothing short of misinformative and disrespectful”][9] to her legacy (@wokewhitevoices, 2020). ![enter image description here][10] As this critique notes, @soyouwanttotalkabout makes no mention of Angela Davis’ opposition to global capitalism, and instead, uses this post to “coddle to white neoliberal centrists,” and that in essence, many people find @soyouwanttotalkabout a reliable source of information, because they are made to feel comfortable in their “complacency” in many issues the account tackles, which ultimately does nothing to help anyone (@wokewhitevoices, 2020). Another major criticism of Instagram infographics is that they focus a great deal on the aesthetics of the post, which also have an interesting way of interacting with the Instagram algorithm, which may ultimately account for their popularity and widespread nature. Many times, infographics discuss really serious, complex, and often violent issues or issues that are part of people’s lived experiences, but these topics are presented in bubbly pink fonts and with cute graphics. This is much like what many are calling, the “memefication” of issues, such as the memefication of Breonna Taylor’s murder, or what can be seen as attempts to “commodify tragedy and obfuscate revolutionary messages” (Nguyen, 2020). Many of the infographics, even if they are made by different creators, look similar, because they essentially mimic millennial-driven, consumer product advertisements posted by corporations. Jess, creator of @soyouwanttotalkabout’s use of bubbly fonts and pastel colors is part of her strategy to appeal to “corporate-minded, girl-boss feminists” who are usually driven by brands that package their advertisements in the same way (Nguyen, 2020). In fact, one can look to these advertisements by millennial brands such as [Glossier][11], [Casper][12], or [Tend][13], (Nguyen, 2020) and see that if one simply replaces the words “your skin produces sebum” in Glossier’s ad with “your white privilege is showing (and here’s what to do about it)” it is no different than the various Instagram infographics currently circulating. How exactly do these bubbly, ad-like infographics about systemic racism and the electoral college become so widespread if, as graphic designed Eric Hu says, the Instagram carousel is one of the “ least successful formats to share information, since users rarely go onto the next slide” and are less likely to read all the text on a slide (Nguyen, 2020). It is precisely that bubbly, pastel, brightly colored, corporate advertising-inspired design that the Instagram algorithm actually favors. As Zeynep Tufekci describes, “the function of gatekeeping for access to the public sphere is enacted through internet platforms’ policies, algorithms, and affordances” (p. 134). In this case, it is the access to the networked public sphere that Instagram’s algorithm is gatekeeping. Posts that seem to present topics a bit more simply, without bubbly colors or fonts, or that don’t resemble millennial mattress company ads, and that even include information that is deemed more “leftist” and not as “liberal” or “progressive” (i.e., information that is a bit more palatable for certain audiences) may not be as widely circulated unless one follows accounts with this type of content. Tufekci also points to the ways in which social media platforms use advertising in order to tailor content for users (p. 136-137). Younger users of Instagram, or those who are more into the “girl-boss” corporate scene or millennial scene are more likely to see such bubbly infographics because of how similar the ads that target them are to the infographics. These users read the graphics, and widely share them in an effort to spread awareness on a given issue. Lastly, the most basic criticism of infographics is that they can constitute “slacktivism” which refers to when people extend their “action” to online only, but don’t contribute materially to the cause (Bettens, 2020). Similar to how in pre-internet times, people wore pins or stickers to show their support for a cause, infographics can be a simple way to signal that one shows support for a cause. Most infographics are public and can be shared to one’s Instagram story or even reposted on one’s account as an image. There is a general concern that Instagram users will simply share infographics, without checking that the information is accurate, without doing further research and reading on the topic, and without contributing to the cause, whether in the form of physical protest or donations, or in other ways. At the beginning of the surge in Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd, the was an influx in sharing of infographics and posts about systemic racism, how to defund the police, anti-racist reading lists, the carceral state of the United States, how to support Black-owned bussiness (and similarly, which businesses to boycott), and other topics. As time passed, however, the frequency of sharing these infographics seems to have dwindled, emphasizing the idea that a lot of Instagram users only shared these posts because it was a “trendy” thing to do, but didn’t actually follow up with action, or did not continue with posting even if they had no intentions of following up with other actions. The proliferation of infographics seemed to tap into the idea that many people on social media are simply [free-riders][14] (Springer, September 14, 2020) that they would rather share a post on social media and gain attention among their followers, but not assume any other risks of being involved in the movement, such as direct action and protests, especially when they are able physically to join protests. ---------- **The usefulness of Instagram Infographics** All of this is not to say, however, that Instagram infographics are completely detrimental to a movement and should be abandoned completely. They can be a really useful entry point for people who want to learn about a certain issue. They employ accessible language, unlike a lot of theoretical texts, and because they tap into the brain’s dominant capacity of visual processing, as Otten et al. have described, they can be useful in helping people understand certain issues. They may even prompt people to continue with further reading, especially when they provide resources for further reading, and are well-researched. Also, not all infographics have been really basic explanations of revolutionary leaders captured in a pink Canva template. There were widely circulated infographics, or posts that made use of Instagram’s carousel feature that did the following: some provided examples of tangible actions one could take in the moment of rising social justice movements, such as [this post][15] by [@elletheartist][16] or [this post][17] by [@chanicealee][18]. There were graphics that provided lists of [organizations to support][19], [tips for protest safety][20], and [resources for further reading][21] that were not simply books on how to be anti-racist. There was also an emphasis on graphics that directed people to organizations, bail funds, or mutual aid funds that they could donate to ([@openyrpurse][22] is a popular account that posts mutual aid funds in “infographic style.”) All of these examples, it can be said, show examples of resource mobilization theory at work. Creators who compile these various lists and resources into infographics practice cost/benefit analysis: they can determine how much of their time, physical and emotional labor can be put into creating these lists, with an understanding that social media users and followers will use these graphics to take action, or will at least share them. Also, many traditional institutions come under scrutiny (Springer, September 14, 2020); non-mainstream ways to donate, such as Venmo, Cashapp, and the very concept of a mutual aid fund are presented rather than traditional charities, and organizations that are also not in the mainstream, that are more grassroots in nature, are presented. While it is true that people may resort to sharing infographics on their Instagram stories and do nothing more to advance the cause, I share here Zeynep Tufekci’s critique of the term “slacktivism.” Tufekci’s main critique of Evgeny Morozov’s definition of slacktivism, as something distracting people from “productive activism, and that people who were clicking on political topics online were turning away from other forms of activism for the same cause” (p. 16), is that it is predicated on the idea of “digital dualism”—the idea that the internet is a less “real” world (p. 17). Tufekci describes at length the idea that the internet constructs a digitally networked public sphere, which interacts with the physical public sphere, mimics it, and expands it. Also, she modifies the claim that slacktivism means that activism online requires little effort. Tufekci says that online activism can become real-life activism, as people join protests with the people they have strong and weak ties with, those they know in person and online (p. xxvi). She also asserts that symbolic online activism is not completely powerless, such as changing a profile picture, as this can cause cultural signals to various networks, that may later cause larger cultural changes about a social issue (p. xxvi). Of course, online activism does have its limits, but it is useful to consider Tufekci’s critiques and not to dismiss online activism all together. Lastly, in a time of a critical global health crisis, when gathering in person for protests is difficult for people who are concerned for their health and the health of others, Instagram infographics, and social media activism at large, can be quite useful. Returning to the idea of the “ghosts of our bodies protesting in Instagram’s digital streets” when we are no longer physically present at protest sites, infographics and other posts can also be indexed and can fill the Instagram archives when hashtags and geotags are used with them. When one looks back at the Instagram archives and the “digital streets” of this moment in an eventual end of the pandemic, one could see and draw inspiration for future movements: our digital or physical presence will be documented, whether there are pictures of protests, or infographics that provide alternatives to physical protest, allowing us to be forever present and constantly expanding this digitally networked public sphere. ---------- **Further examples of Instagram Infographics** Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of the Instagram infographics or accounts that exist or have been active during this moment, but here are some examples I would like to describe. - [@soyouwanttotalkabout][23]- The account’s bio describes it as “dissecting progressive politics and social issues in graphic slideshow form.” This account has an infographic for any topic imaginable, from domestic to international issues. Makes use of pastel and neutral colors, and diverse, bold fonts. Includes sources at the bottom, but generally does not provide resources for further reading. This account has been criticized for oversimplifying issues (such as the infographic about Angela Davis mentioned earlier) and is a prime example of @projectunsettlement’s critique, this account attempts to make graphics about nearly every crisis in the world, and it tends to present information on every issue as fact, and not as an analysis of the issue. - [@theslacktivists][24]- Bio reads, “community based comprehensive media...knowledge is power, here’s what you need to know.” What stands out about this account’s infographics automatically, is that the first slide is usually an image related to the topic, with very simple white font. The following slides are in solid colors and also simple, not bubbly fonts. The slides tend to provide a bit more context about the issues at hand than accounts such as @soyouwanttotalkabout. Finally, the infographic ends with a sources slide that also provides resources for further reading. - Figures 1 and 2 compare and contrast posts made by @soyouwanttotalkabout and @theslacktivists that are both about the crisis in Yemen. Note how @soyouwanttotalkabout’s slides are mostly filled with over-sized text, while @theslacktivists's slides have more bullet points per slide with more context about the issue, and a final slide with resources for further reading. This is an example of how some infographic creators gloss over certain facts on a given issue, while others include them and try to make their infographics as accurate as possible. @theslacktivists even included an update to their last slide in the caption, based on new information they received about the topic. ![Figure 1-@soyouwanttotalkabout's post on Yemen][25] Figure 1: @soyouwanttotalkabout's post on [Yemen][26] ![Figure 2 @theslacktivists's post on Yemen][27] ![Figure 2 @theslacktivists's post on Yemen][28] Figure 2 and 2.1: @theslacktivists's post on [Yemen][29] - **The “what’s going on in *insert country* and why you should be talking about it/how you can help infographic**- Notably, the account [@theslowfactory][30], an account of an organization dedicated to “improving sustainability literacy in fashion” has made a series of infographics about international crises. Three examples include infographics they made about [Lebanon][31] before the August 4th explosion and [Beirut][32] after the explosion, as well as an infographic about the crisis in [Artsakh][33] (otherwise known as the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.) Some of the infographics created by @theslowfactory can be seen as presenting information in a way that is useful for people who are not from the country in crisis, or do not have a stake in a two-sided conflict but want to learn more about the issue, because this account is a third party. One must be weary about the role of third parties who are not on the ground in a given situation, especially when one is located in the United States, and obtains information from American sources and media. - **Blackout Tuesday**- on June 2nd, 2020, Instagram users, from individuals to businesses and corporations, posted plain black squares to their accounts with the hashtag [#blackouttuesday][34] and #blacklivesmatter. The purpose of this hashtag and post campaign were apparently to raise awareness about police brutality and racist violence, as well as a message of solidarity with Black Lives Matter. This trend however was quickly denounced as peak performative activism, because there was no clarity as to what exactly posting a black square would do for the cause. Further, since users were also using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter under these black squares, other users and organizers noticed that posts containing very useful information about protests, donation links, petitions, in infographic format or not, which also used this hashtag, were being buried under thousands of black squares that contained no useful information. This is an example of what Ali Rachel Pearl referred to as “hijacking” of a hashtag, by which a user populates a hashtag (either one that is coined by another user or one with different archival material) with posts that the original hashtag creator did not post, or that is unrelated (Pearl, 2018). - [This infographic][35] by [@courtneyahndesign][36]-an example of how really serious issues are packaged into “cute” graphics. On the fourth slide, the words “neo-nazis,” “lynching,” “hate crimes” and “racial slurs” appear in a pastel pink bubble with polka-dots and whimsical handwriting. - The [“having conversations”][37] infographics- While these infographics do provide examples of tangible actions to take in the face of systemic racism, there have been [criticisms][38] about the “having conversations” route in activism. - [@wokewhitevoices][39]- This is an account that actively ridicules Instagram infographics, using the same Canva templates that many users employ to make their infographics. They also mock some of the topics, especially as being too “liberal” or “white” and that they want to demonstrate that as “white” people they are definitely “woke” which can be seen as a commentary on how white Instagram users may use the infographic as something to absolve them of their whiteness or white guilt and complicity in oppressive structures. ---------- **Some words from Instagram Infographic creators!** [Response][40] from the account [@infoandgraphic][41]: ---------- **Conclusion** Instagram infographics are just one of the ways in which social media is mobilized in social movements. These colorful slideshows proliferated a great deal during the surge of Black Lives Matter protests and are a key part of pandemic activism. They are not without criticism, however, as they do have the potential to oversimplify complex issues, spread misinformation, and focus on aesthetics that mimic the corporate world and contribute to the watering down of certain issues. However, they can be a helpful entry point for people who would like to learn more about a certain topic, and more about what they can do during a time when in-person protest can be more difficult to participate in due to the spread of COVID-19. One may then wonder, is the phenomenon of the Instagram Infographic an “industrial complex?” Industrial complex refers to anything in which we can see the interaction between business and profit and social or political institutions or systems. Industrial complex is more commonly used to describe the prison industrial complex. Instagram infographics do mimic ads of various corporations, and work within the Instagram algorithm (Instagram itself being part of a corporation) through this design in order to become viral. Also, as the phenomenon of Instagram infographics grows, we may see users making profits off of creating accessible infographics with all of these imperfections. For now, the place of infographics in the term industrial complex is still evolving. While this pandemic will have an eventual end, the use of infographics and social media in activism at large will not. Infographics have become accessible resources that are easy to share and understand, especially for people new to certain social movements. We can hope that infographics will improve in order to avoid spreading misinformation or oversimplifying issues, especially after learning from criticisms from the activism of this summer. As people learn the nuances surrounding infographics, they may be better developed and employed, and have an even more prominent role in activism in a (hopefully) post-coronavirus world. To actually conclude, here is an infographic, about infographics (by me). ![enter image description here][42] Finally, [a list of all my sources and resources for further reading.][43] [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]: [7]: [8]: [9]: [10]: [11]: [12]: [13]: [14]: [15]: [16]: [17]: [18]: [19]: [20]: [21]: [22]: [23]: [24]: [25]: [26]: [27]: [28]: [29]: [30]: [31]: [32]: [33]: [34]: [35]: [36]: [37]: [38]: [39]: [40]: [41]: [42]: [43]:
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