So I learned a new term this week… Slacktivism. Turns out I know what it is, I just didn’t realize there was a term associated with it. Nor did I realize how split people’s opinions are about it.
Abby Rosmarin defines slacktivism as:
“When people do something online in support of a certain cause or event, such as sign a petition or share a news article, that requires little time and/or thought. A lot of people consider it a useless endeavor and tend to have some less-than-kind statements about those who do it.”
Scott Gilmore gives a very different definition:
“A slacktivist is someone who believes it is more important to be seen to help than to actually help. He will wear a T-shirt to raise awareness. She will wear a wristband to demonstrate support, sign a petition to add her voice, share a video to spread the message, even pour a bucket of ice over her head. The one thing slacktivists don’t do is help by, for example, giving money or time to those who are truly making the world a better place: the cancer researcher, the aid worker, the hospice manager.”
Gilmore argues that these slacktivists that like or share a post on Facebook, then become less likely to donate money or actually physically do something to help because they feel they have already done their part by posting on social media.
Another article by Kate Groetzinger contradicts Gilmore’s arguments, saying that those who support online movements are more likely to contribute in real life.
Elizabeth shared some of my same thoughts this week in her blog post, stating that although slacktivism is not the same as activism, it is a step in the right direction for positive change. Something Elizabeth said in her blog post that I think hit the nail on the head was: “So, yes, you may be an activist, and you may think slacktivists are, well, slackers. But at least they are starting somewhere.” I couldn’t agree more!
Something that comes to mind is the number of Go Fund Me fundraisers that have popped up on my Facebook feed in the past year or so. The amount of money raised for family and friends in need is incredible. As long as people are actually contributing money and not just sharing the page, the impact is huge. And even though some people may be “slacktivists” about it and not donate only share the page, maybe they share it and in turn someone who sees it goes to donate money. That is an incredible thing and the amounts of money I have seen raised would not be possible without social media.
So yes I understand that people don’t always DO something, but it is at least spreading the word about certain issues to people who maybe wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. And not everyone is DOING something, but I guarantee some people are. Isn’t that better than nothing?
Just for fun, here is some evidence that I could be considered a slacktivist. A snapshot from my ALS ice bucket challenge from a few years ago- and YES I donated money afterwards! (So does that mean technically I’m not a slacktivist??)