By Samantha Sullivan
I first heard the term “slacktivism” in an international studies class. Slacktivism is described as:
actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g., signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website.
All while an “activist” is described as:
a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. When you participate in a march protesting the closing of a neighborhood library, you’re an activist.
Someone who’s actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist.
Since we’re now in the digital age, does that mean the way we protest has changed as well and is it even effective? I think by now, if we are connected to any social media platform, have been a slacktivism at one point or another. The generation before ours saw the March on Washington. Our generation has now been diluted to political memes that are filed under the term slacktivism. Dictionary.com just added slacktivism to their library in 2015.
So, is clicking, liking, and sharing really doing anything but dividing your friends list between liberal and conservative? Turns out, there was a study conducted to see if all of this is really worth anything and if it actually even brings about change. The results stated that it is just as real as the Occupy movement that took place om Wall Street in 2011.
Whether, “slacktivism” is for you, or whether you’d just to prefer to keep your political stances to yourself, the term itself should be given relative thought. When one likes and shares anything political, they’ve become instant protestors in our new, digital age of activism, according the study mentioned above. But does it lead to anything tangible? Not all agree that slacktivism leads to activism.
According to St. Louis Public Radio, “Someone who “likes” a cause on Facebook wouldn’t be any more likely to donate in the future than someone who had no exposure to the cause at all.” You be the judge.
Essig, K. (2014, January 2). http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/activism-or-slacktivism-how-social-media-hurts-and-helps-student-activism. Retrieved from St. Louis Public Radio : http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/activism-or-slacktivism-how-social-media-hurts-and-helps-student-activism
Pablo Barberá, N. W.-B. (2015). The Critical Periphery in the Growth of Social Protests. Journals Plos .