Slacktivism- Just Say No!
Anyone who is a regular user of social media has experienced the frenzy that explodes when a major disastrous event takes place. People rush to their Twitters, Facebooks, and various other social media outlets to receive updates and speak their minds on the issue. Aside from these typical actions, there’s another phenomenon which takes place as well – slacktivism.
Let’s say a horrific event takes place, such as a hurricane, mass killing, or earthquake. Twitter feeds begin to fly with updates and Facebook statuses begin to amount in massive numbers. Then comes the infamous campaign ads, groups, and organizations asking you to get involved.
What do you do? As you continue to scroll down your feed, you see a post for [ insert organization name here ] writing about ways to help those in need. These updates serve their purpose as they just so happen to grab your attention. Between your social networks, you see a bombardment of tweets exclaiming “retweet and we’ll donate 10 cents to help [insert troubled group here] ! “, along with Facebook posts begging you to “share” in order to help those in need. Because you’re feeling philanthropic, you decide, “why not?” and click the post. You even decide to follow a few organizations to really show your support. What a way to show that hurricane who’s boss! With a simple “retweet” or “share”, you have suddenly helped those who are feeling the burden..right? If this sounds like your ideal way of helping out, then you, my friend, are a
What is a slacktivist? While the term hasn’t officially made it into the dictionary, many activists have openly used it. The proverbial definition describes it as ” people who support a cause by performing simple measures or are not truly engaged nor devoted to making a change.” ( Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS)
The term “slactivism” is a combination of the words “slack” and “activism”. It is a deprecatory term, used to describe someone who is lazy and lacks the true integrity, determination, and effort when it comes to serving or advocating. Instead, the individual participates on a “feel-good” basis, meaning he or she does enough to satisfy his or her own desires.
In the traditional sense, activism has usually called for people to unite and…..take action. Although “liking”, “sharing”, and “tweeting”, are technically classified as “action”, they are not the most effective practices for involvement. Many ‘old school” activists feel as if this undermines those who picketed, held sit-ins, marched, spoke, and launched aggressive movements which campaigned for equality and reform. How can we forget the brave civil rights leaders who brought this country into an era of change and liberation? How can we forget the headstrong revolutionaries who BUILT our country?
Not only do activists publicly protest, but they also relentlessly help those in need year-round. These are the individuals who go into neighborhoods and reconstruct buildings, rehabilitate the troubled youth and adults, serve on rescue teams when disaster strikes, restore the environment, feed and shelter the homeless, and much more.
By simply sitting on your behind and “retweeting”, you’re stripping away the true essence of activism.
Social media serves as an excellent form of communication and a great platform for reaching a massive number of people within a very short amount of time, however it does not take the place of actually putting on your boots and stepping into the muddy waters of conflict.
There are approximately 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States alone. Seriously, there’s no excuse for why you can’t be involved if you truly want to make a difference. Getting involved will also make you look a lot more credible than just posting artsy photos of powerful words and prominent figures on Instagram and Pinterest.
Now, please don’t misconstrue the message being presented. We can at least establish this: social media is great. It’s a useful tool which expands across many platforms and transcends all cultures. It’s a powerful entity with the ability to rapidly spread information faster than some news outlets. It’s great, wonderful, and every other positive adjective I can conjure up – however, it won’t turn you in to a philanthropist over a tweet. It should be used in conjunction with actual efforts made out in the real world. Activism is a combination of man power and word of mouth, so let’s get out there and make a real difference. Say no to slacktivism.
To conclude this post, here are a few links to some of the organizations I love. I will be providing more links in the future.