Slacktivism… better than simply being a slacker!

Slackivism is defined by Techopedia as “a term that combines the words “slacker” and “activism” to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving virtually no effort on the part of participants. Slacktivism is most commonly associated with actions like signing online petitions, copying social network statuses or joining cause-related social networking groups”

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I was personally unaware that this social movement, which is impossible to ignore on various social media outlets, had a name before learning about it this week.  I have actually thought about slacktivism before (not knowing there was a name for it). Several of my friends on social media are constantly sharing, liking or updating their status’s to reflect and “support” various issues and causes. As I have mentioned before, I do not post a lot on social media, especially on Facebook where I most commonly see the “slackivists”.  I have nothing against people who tweet hashtags like #bringbackthebees  , #blacklivesmatter , and #yesallwomen or people who dump ice on their head to raise awareness for a little known about disease or who like and repost the latest cause on instagram or Facebook. I just do not tend to take part in these things too often . (yikes…. does this make me even worse than a slacktivist)

Many people have blogged about their views on slacktivism, both for and against.

Scott Gilmore writes that he believes the problem with slacktivism is that people are only caring about themselves like growing a mustache for Movember instead of taking time to maxresdefaultvolunteer and donate money towards  a cause to help the bigger picture. Gilmore writes “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.”   Critics of slacktivism believe that participants lack engagement and commitment to the cause.

While I am not “Anti-slacktivism” a concerned member of  my communiy has recently set up an online petition  that I have yet to sign because before even learning about slackivism I didn’t think these signatures would actually make a difference.  Even though I do agree with the cause, I am not sure I will add my name to the list, but I am also in no hurry to write  letter to our mayor. (Another slacker move.. oh no!)

I connected more with Abby Rosmarin’s post  about how yes, there are some slackivist haters but there are some positives to this idea as well. I agreed a lot more with Amy here when she stated how she enjoys seeing her friends post slackivist updates. She writes “It is a beautiful sight to see people come together over a cause, even if it’s as effortless as sharing a video or changing your profile picture. There is nothing I love seeing go viral quite like a social movement. Don’t give me your blue-and-black (or is it white-and-gold?) dress. Don’t give me “15 Things You Totes Do With Your BFF!!!!” I love seeing my Facebook and Twitter feeds flooded with something that can bring a little more peace, equality, or justice in this world. But that is only the start”  

I really agree with that last line… But it is only the start.  I am not against slacktivism.  I was happy to read that a study in 2012 proved that those who engage in slackivism are actually more likely to give back to causes (time or money).  My believe is that slacktivism is better than nothing. I think it is better to share your support for a cause, even it it simply means a retweet or a facebook share than to show no support at all.  At least all of the slacktivists out there are still raising awareness for the cause of their choice, it might just take one person to see their post to react and make a difference.

Throughout writing this post I thought I might be more of a “slacker” than a slacktivist because I don’t even take the time to share causes on social media! But after some thought, I realize that I help causes that are near and dear to me.  This past year I donated to the Make a Wish Foundation, Diabetes Foundation and the Cancer Society.  While I may not be donating hundreds of dollars at a time, I know my donations are still making  difference.

I am happy I have learned about the Slacktivism phenomenon, I will be more aware of this now and maybe even join in from time to time!  Better a slacktivist than a slacker 🙂




One thought on “Slacktivism… better than simply being a slacker!

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post! I was like you, I had no idea what slacktivism was or that those actions had a definition. The term kind of bothers me because when people share, like and retweet are they not just furthering awareness? It is interesting because the average person does not have the funds to donate to a number of causes or the time to go out and be an active participant. It is an interesting conundrum!


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