SLACKTIVISM: - “political activities that have no impact on real–life politicaloutcomes, but only serve to increase the feel–good factor of the participants”
About The Article:• Slacktivist activities include: joining a group on Facebook, liking a status or sharing a post, signing an online petition, watching an online video.• Critiques of ‘slacktivism’- 1) it’s less effective 2) it leads to lower overall levels of political participation (online activism functions as a ‘real-life’ replacement) and it’s 3) for well- educated and tech literate citizens only (digital divide)• Although it is hard to prove the effectiveness of online activism, it is at worst “harmless fun” and at best can mobilize awareness and lead to offline participation.• The article also explores some online examples of “micro- activism’, defined as small scale, many to many forms of political organization.
Verses “Micro-activism”: “High-Risk” Activism: (from the Malcolm Gladwell article)- Many to many communication - A clear risk involved- Non-hierarchical and decentralized - A personal connection“networks” - A strategy and a hierarchy- Fast way to raise awareness and - A geographical locationspread information - Trust and camaraderie- Adaptable-bottom up communication, - “Late night” conversations outside traditional gatekeepers and institutions
Measuring The Effectiveness of Internet Activism• Tracking the effectiveness of internet activism is hard to do. How do you measure real impact? Also, many orgs have bias in claiming their campaigns were effective.• There is a weak link between online activism and other forms of participation, which is mainly a higher propensity to donate money to a cause/campaign.• The author concludes there is no evidence to support that online activism replaces offline action. “If anything, it is helping mobilize citizens by increasing an awareness of contemporary issues.”
Some Examples of Internet Activism: ‘Building awareness’ examples- KONY2012, KomenFoundation and Planned Parenthood, SOPA Blackout Can you think of any?
Source: Sortable.com (list of sources on full infographic)See entire infographic here: http://sortable.com/blog/rise-of-the-slacktivist/
Points for Discussion:• What do YOU think of slacktivism? Is it a ‘real’ form of civic engagement? Can it impact political decisions? What’s better, micro-activism or real-life engagement?• What about other forms of digital political participation ‘outside’ the system: i.e.: hacking, Anonymous, Wikileaks, etc. Are they valid? More effective? Why or how?• What’s the best strategy for a non-profit today to initiate change around an issue?