Have you ever gone on social media to support a cause by either liking a page or donating money? Did you feel like you did something good to make the world a bit of a better place or help someone in need just by a push of a button? If you answered yes to these questions you fall into the category of what people now a day’s call “Slacktivism”. Slacktivism is a term that combines the words "slacker" and "activism" to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving no effort on the part of participants. Slacktivism is commonly associated with actions like reposting social networks, joining cause related social networking groups, or signing online petitions.
People would argue that being a Slacktivism you’re not actually supporting anything or making changes when you’re not in real life participating in an event. You could donate money to a charity and still be called a slacktivism because you did not march down the street, make food for the homeless or interacting with people face to face. But have people ever thought about how not everyone has time to participate in many activities? People have busy schedules and although they may not have time to be there in person, some may donate money and help financially or spread a message that can get others involved who actually have the time. Through the internet everyone can see everything and although maybe they might not be able to donate because of their financial situation they can still support the cause by singing petitions and spreading the word. Heidi Schlumpf states “When I was unmarried and child-free, I used to protest at school of the Americas, even risking arrest. My sister, home with three children, baked me cookies for the trip. Now that I have two toddlers, I bake cookies, write checks and click “like.”(596). She couldn’t of made that any more clear. It just goes to show how people don’t have all the time in the world to show support in a cause especially when you have too many things going on and are a responsible adult but still manage to find a way to help in any way possible.
There was an earthquake in Mexico not too long ago. I have family members who lost everything, their car, house, even loved ones. I couldn’t imagine the pain and suffering everyone was going through. There were people who were under buildings who needed help. You could see on the news how much the community was helping out and were a huge help to saving lives. I thought to myself, how can I help? I couldn’t just book a flight and fly out to Mexico. I have responsibilities here at home but I knew I wanted to help in any way I could. I donated money to the Red Cross foundation and although I wasn’t there physically I felt like I had done a good deed. I shared the link on my social media and I had tons of friends who donated money and shared the link as well. Although my money wasn’t a lot, imagine how many other people all around the world who were in my situation did the same thing.
Social media has its pros and cons like everything in life. Gabriella Corvese states “Since slacktivism and its convenience are probably not going anywhere any time soon, it should become the gateway into more direct, informative and effective forms of activism.”(601). She believes although people are supporting a cause on the internet there needs to be more action to support the actual cause. A like won’t get the cause what it needs, but sharing the information and people actually knowing what they are supporting can help the cause in many ways. Some people might repost something to share the information and may even get others to involved physically. As well as promoting causes, these social media trends can bring a sense of unity among people for example changing pictures on Facebook with a small “I stand with dreamers” in order to show support for the DACA students or adding a colorful image to support gay marriage. Although these were not promoting causes, they demonstrate the power of social media in supporting social events. So whatever your reason or cause is make your message simple, bold and above all different. It can capture the attention of everyone. Slacktivism and activism can both play an important role in social media channels in support into action.
Everyone lives a life caught between two worlds the physical interaction and the digital world being social media. This plays a huge part where relationships are formed over online digital platforms, and a single person’s opinion can be shared worldwide in a matter of seconds. The freedom of expression that social media has given any person has provoked interesting behavior among users of social media. People have different opinions and aren’t afraid to share it. Everybody is using some form of social media just like everybody at some point was reading a newspaper. It’s a great way to get your information out there to a bunch of different groups in a fast and timely manner. Mark Pfeifle stated “Social media may not have been the spark that set the fire, but it certainly provided the oxygen that caused it to spread.”(606). Everything is on Social media from what happened on the news to what happened at work. Although being a slacktivism may seem like one is doing nothing to help a cause I feel like social media present new opportunities for charities to reach more people, increase awareness and encourage donations or to help in any way possible.