Social Activism or Slacktivism

In this week’s ECMP 455 class we looked at a template for planning an online social activism campaign. To start we reviewed some campaigns from the past, we looked at KONY 2012, and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Both of these gained strong media attention and filled up everyone’s social media feeds. However in the case of the Ice Bucket Challenge the real cause seemed to be lost behind the thrill of dumping ice cold water on your head. As exemplified in the below video.

In order to create a strong online social activism project it is important to have the following:

  • An important issue that you want to change.
  • A blog or website that is a source for people to view.
  • A hashtag that can gain media awareness.
  • A plan put in place to make the change.
  • A place for people to hear your voice, such as: Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
  • Support from people who are also passionate about the issue.

I think with technology it can be much easier to have your voice heard and to make a change in the world. It is also easy to participate in activism projects, however it can also be very easy to fall under the Slacktivism category. as stated in The Guardian, “In the land of social media, the position of “armchair activist” is open to all. You can change your profile picture to raise awareness, share videos and articles and keep in touch with charities by liking their pages. Making a difference seems pretty easy in the digital age. But is your contribution any deeper than a click?” I think many people may think that they are an integral part in a change that is going on, when in actuality they may just be boosting the ego of the creator of the campaign, rather than donating to the cause.

Photo credit: Invisible Children

Creating an online social media campaign in a classroom could be a great way to get your students involved with making a difference within the world or their community. I also think that it is a great platform to talk about social activism with your student. Because social activism is not just liking a photo on Instagram or Facebook, it’s about being involved in creating a change and helping those around you. If you can, don’t just stop with liking that photo, get involved and be a part of the change.



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