5 Responses to Slacktivism: Good or Bad?

  1. I don’t think anyone could completely disagree with your thesis here, Slacktivism isn’t given some of the respect that it could potentially deserve. I feel like we live in a world where there are those who embrace technology fully and those who avoid it at almost all costs. The idea of “new and improved” is hard for some to grasp but just like our favorite apps update and change shape, we too must update due to our surroundings. Therefore, I agree with you in the fact that showing support for thing via social media outlets may be the new thing. Rather than protesting the streets we may be turning to protest accounts or websites altogether to shut them down. It’s easy to see that advertisement runs our economy, without that backing a political figure or corporation alike have little leg to stand on. Although on the contrast I very much feel like we aren’t completely there either. I hear your truths that we have lives and that we must do our daily routines (school, work, relationships) to fully enjoy and embrace our day but I don’t agree that changing a profile picture or status is the way things are going to get changed. Yes, there are those times when it may spur conversation and interest in a certain subject as discussed in class but more times than not it stops there (if it even makes it there in the first place!). Slacktivism is properly appointed because we ought to do more than just read about it. Social media has opened up so many outlets for change that we are spread so thin that we cannot decide which ones are deserving of our time, money or effort. It is up to us to decide which causes we support (not just like on retweet) but actually participate in the movement. Without this structure our society loses a grasp on the fight it takes to change thing. It is better said by Maya Angelou that, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  2. I think as technology continues to evolve, it obviously affects our everyday practices. We can now email a coworker, listen to a podcast, text a friend, schedule an appointment, etc with smart phone technology; all while sitting down. This notion of “Slactivism” is a logical explanation of our multitasking lives. Even though it seems lazy to show your beliefs and support through sharing a picture or video, it doesn’t necessarily go unnoticed. The first example that came to my mind was the Kony 2012 phenomena. When their “Stop Kony” campaign video went viral on May 5, 2012, it reached millions of internet users in the span of just a few days. By October, the video had reached nearly 100 million users on YouTube and over 16 million on Vimeo. I remember the night that it went viral, my entire Facebook newsfeed and twitter feed was devoted to video shares. I know I was not alone in this sparking my curiosity and it didn’t take long for me to continue this video-chain. Most recently I’ve seen users changing their profile pictures to match whatever cause they are raising awareness for, whether it’s equal rights, or the visual effects industry. Even though you may not be physically helping out or donating your time or money, this simple gesture does reach people. It may be considered lazy, but perhaps it will encourage someone who does not understand the symbol/statement/video to do some research for themselves.

    • I definitely agree with you and crystaljhollis in regards to the benefits of online support. We live in a culture that is so fast paced and technologically heavy that we are able to promote and support groups, organizations, or causes online with more ease in comparison to rioting in the streets, protesting outside of buildings, or donating items. It reaches other people whether they knew about it or not. It at least raises questions and gets the word out about issues in the world. Because we are so plugged in to social networking sites, we are able to discover new causes through a friend’s interest or other organizations that support ideas that reflect our own or we feel strongly about. This also allows us to find out about ways we can help tragedies or groups. I mean, for how busy us college students are there sometimes seems like that is the only way of activism we are capable of. How else do we find out about tragedies or shocking news stories in regards to gay rights? Even in class the majority of us stated that we found out about the Boston marathon and West, Texas events through social media.

      While these are all great things (and possible a new way of activism with our current advances in technology), I’ve got to touch on the slacktivism that irritates me the most. The reason I see that there is great difference (and great irritation to me) is that people post, share, and support things that they do not know anything about or notice that it’s a huge issue or concern and they should either feel involved or look like they are “whole-hearted, kind souls.” It can be tricky to pick out the posers, but you know them when you see them. Not sure on their stance? Just comment asking about the topic they are supporting for the month and if you know anything about it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Through the mass chaos of social media buzz during tragedies, the saddest thing is all of the information that gets twisted around or even information that becomes false due to speed of information and opinion. All of this creates its own issues and confusion. These two pictures show some more extreme cases of slacktivists, but I think you get my point.

      http://imgur.com/R0q6OVj

  3. asg0323 says:

    I really agree with what you are saying about, “spreading awareness of an issue is better than not doing anything at all.” When we were in class talking about this issue I think we might have slightly touched on the positive effects of slacktivism, but we tended more to focus on the negative aspects. However, with this blog post I think you really hit the nail on the head with some of the positive parts.
    I believe slacktivism is nearly as important as actual involvement in activist efforts. I will quote the great Leonardo DiCaprio from Inception on why I believe this. “What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm?… An idea.” Although Inception is a science fiction film I still absolutely agree with the quote. Meaning, when I change my profile picture to support gay rights, or spread word on Facebook about the bad effects of fracking, or any other slacktivist act, I DO feel like I’m helping, because I know that as soon as someone reads that post, the idea I initially spread will be on their mind and they will likely spread the word. Eventually someone is going to feel strongly enough about it to get involved. That’s how slacktivism helps.
    To be perfectly clear, I’m not saying that I couldn’t be doing better; I could actually get involved in these causes, and I won’t make up excuses for why I haven’t. I’m only saying that like you, I see significance in the positive effects slacktivism brings with it into this digital age.

  4. I completely agree with your view that no matter how little or how much one is involved, participating and advocating for a cause one is passionate about is always something to feel good about. That’s partly where I feel the definition of slacktivism itself is a little misleading because it starts blurring the lines between tokenistic gestures of engagement which don’t reflect any true devotion to making a change and microactivism – or activism consisting of small gestures.

    http://likingisnthelping.wordpress.com/

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