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Mapping Slacktivism: Patterns of low-threshold civic participation on the internet, by Sandy Schumann (University of Oxford)

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Sandy presented a session at The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference (TICTeC2015) on 25 March 2015 in London.

To see more coverage of TICTeC2015, visit: http://lanyrd.com/2015/tictec/

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Mapping Slacktivism: Patterns of low-threshold civic participation on the internet, by Sandy Schumann (University of Oxford)

  1. 1. MAPPING SLACKTIVISM PATTERNS OF LOW-THRESHOLD CIVIC PARTICIPATION ONTHE INTERNET Sandy Schumann & Anastasia Kavada University of Oxford — University of Westminster
  2. 2. LOOK, IFYOU MAKE A FACEBOOK PAGE WE WILL “LIKE” IT—IT’S THE LEAST WE CAN DO. BUT IT’S ALSO THE MOST WE CAN DO. SETH MEYERS,WEEKEND UPDATE, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, SEPTEMBER 22, 2012
  3. 3. SLACKTIVISM Low-cost and low-risk civic actions online that… • require no commitment (Morozov, 2009) • have no social impact (Gladwell, 2010) • undermine future engagement (Lee & Hsieh, 2013).
  4. 4. SPECULATIONSVS. EVIDENCE
  5. 5. SPECULATIONSVS. EVIDENCE
  6. 6. RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. How do low-threshold civic actions manifest themselves on the Internet? 2. How committed are users who take these actions? 3. Do the low-cost online actions undermine future engagement (offline)?
  7. 7. STUDY Assessing practices on Greenpeace websites and email lists, Facebook, Twitter,YouTube, personal email and blogs
  8. 8. RESPONDENTS • N = 620 • M = 30.05 years old (SD = 11.30) • 65.6% female • 55 different mother tongues • Supported Greenpeace for M = 8.12 years (SD = 8.07)
  9. 9. PLATFORM USE 1 2 3 4 5 6 Website Facebook YouTube Personal blog 1,65 2,011,97 2,29 3,1 4,24 2,67 Email list Twitter Personal email Never Daily
  10. 10. WEBSITE Low-threshold civic actions Interpersonal interaction Entertainment Gather information about Greenpeace Comment on Greenpeace blog posts Check the ship webcams Sign a petition Play interactive games such as Deepwater Desperation Share information about Greenpeace via email or social media platforms Watch videos
  11. 11. FACEBOOK PAGE Low-threshold civic actions Interpersonal and affiliative interaction Sharing Entertainment High- threshold civic actions Gather information about Greenpeace Leave a comment Share Greenpeace posts Watch videos Follow Greenpeace events on the live stream Follow links to get additional information Comment on Greenpeace posts Share other supporters` posts View photos Make donations `Like` Greenpeace posts Comment on the comments of other supporters Sign up to the Action alert Email list Follow calls to sign petitions `Like` the comments of other supporters Commit to events organized by Greenpeace
  12. 12. TWITTER Low-threshold civic actions Interpersonal and affiliative interaction Gather information about Greenpeace Reply to Greenpeace tweets Follow links to get additional information Reply to tweets by other Greenpeace supporters Re-tweet Greenpeace tweets Send private messages to other Greenpeace supporters View Greenpeace photos Express your support for Greenpeace in your banner and profile photo Share information about Greenpeace Follow other Greenpeace supporters `Favorite` Greenpeace tweets Follow Greenpeace lists
  13. 13. EMAIL LIST Low-threshold civic actions Gather information about Greenpeace Follow links to get additional information Follow calls to sign petitions
  14. 14. COMMITMENT AND IMPACT Commitment Low-threshold online civic actions .49 .37 Civic actions offline
  15. 15. SUMMARY Low-threshold civic actions, such as gathering information and signing petitions online, are… • prevalent on all proprietary platforms • more likely to be performed by highly committed supporters • and encourage engagement offline.
  16. 16. CONCLUSIONS So-called slacktivist actions… • indicate citizens’ endorsement • are a first step on a ladder of (institutionalized) engagement • and/or a substitute for committed citizens when other means or resources are not available.
  17. 17. CONCLUSIONS • Advocacy and cause-related groups might want to integrate low-threshold online civic actions in their campaigns • However, there are challenges to consider. Schumann, S. & Klein, O. (in press). Substitute or Stepping-stone?The impact of low-threshold online collective actions on offline participation. European Journal of Social Psychology.
  18. 18. THANKYOU sandy.schumann@new.ox.ac.uk @Sandy_Research

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