Thirty–three years ago, Jos Fayette, the first editor of Options Magazine, would perhaps be finalizing his “Letter to the Reader” without the peculiarities of a delete button available. As I write, and rewrite, delete, and write some more, I reflect on how our communication technologies have evolved over the years, as have the messages they carry. Social media platforms have given activists a power that no bullhorn or monthly publication could ever provide. #Hashtags and video uploads are the tools that our contemporary leaders use to reach their audiences, and subsequently expand the numbers of participants in marches, protests, and rallies toward social justice across the world.
The problems faced by our community and human rights activists are not new. But clearly the tools and methods we have available to address them are—and they’re working. By strategically and deliberately planning our next steps, both locally and globally, we are finding ways to harness the tools of the 21st century to support and unite oppressed and marginalized communities.
Options has experienced explosive growth over the past year: we’ve added pages, improved quality of design, and increased advertising revenue by over 40% and subscriptions by 25%. We’ve reestablished and strengthened relationships with other LGBTQ nonprofits and have built new ones along the way.
Options has provided an outlet and platform for communication for 33 years, yet the immediate need for our publication has changed. No longer are our pages the first place Rhode Islanders hear about a particular event, initiative, or piece of legislation. Options’ importance in the big-picture conversation, however, has only been strengthened with the rise of social media journalists. In this fast-paced world, where a 140-character tweet can reach millions in minutes, reflection and dialogue are needed now more than ever.
As you partake in the upcoming PrideFest celebrations, I ask you to reflect on the accomplishments of our community over the past decade and consider what role—either in person or #140characters long—you can play in the decade to come. The pages of this publication are thirsty for the ink from your pen, and ready for your perspective, ideas, and dialogue for our future. Tweet us @OptionsMag with your thoughts.