Rayne Fisher-Quann, founder of March For Our Education and a celebrated organizer behind the largest student protest in Canadian history, led a workshop for activists and organizers this June in Toronto.
During the ICL workshop, Rayne shared her lessons from organizing a provincewide walkout of more than 100,000 students, and taught students you how to effectively use social media to build power and win change. One attendee was Jacqueline Siu, a 4th year University of Toronto student. In this post, she shares her reflections from the workshop:
I attended this seminar since I’ve always been interested in social media campaigns and strategies. I had managed a campaign before for an environmental NGO raising awareness of the political and economic effects of Trump’s decision of pulling out of the Paris Accord. My roommates were huge Instagram users, with way more followers than I did. I often wondered- why are some people able to gain so many followers while others could not?
In comes Rayne, the gracious founder of March for Our Education. I had never thought of the idea of Instagram being a tool for mobilization of this scale. Sitting there and hearing her talk about all the strategies she used completely floored me- I could not wait to text my politically minded friends how fascinating the content was in the middle of the seminar.
The highlight of the seminar was Rayne’s ability to clearly analyse the different aspects of Instagram, and come up with strategies to fully promote her own platform. She compared Instagram's ability to build brand presence and create soundbites to other social media platforms. This was particularly fun since I had never considered these aspects of social media platforms before. She also mentioned the different “algorithms” of Instagram that prioritize showing one post over another, essentially teaching us how to boost the post’s metrics using different methods.
Two points that were particularly fascinating: the most successful posts make people feel like they were part of a community, and have human faces in them. This made me realize how intrinsic the human need for connection and community was, and how it was manifested in the tiniest ways like these.
As a person who’s constantly seeking out tools and ideas to improve organization, this seminar was right up my alley. I really appreciated the opportunity to hear from Rayne herself, and open myself up to information I probably would not have gotten from university. I left the seminar with an reinvigorated spirit and passion to build more social media strategies.
One point that stuck with me was this: Instagram is the true platform for democracy. Anyone, literally anyone, could share their information and their truth.