Posts Tagged ‘slacktivism’
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
I was reading an article the other day covering a well known charity that had just won a funding contest, pumping about $1 million into their resource pool. Very cool stuff. The reason I mention this, is because the founder was asked something about the “level of involvement from volunteers” or something along those lines, and he used the word “slacktivism”. My curiosity was immediately piqued, so I Wiki’d it (yes, Wiki is a verb now). I was not all that surprised at the definition;
Slacktivism: The word is considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts also tend to require little personal effort from the slacktivist.
Examples of activities labeled as “slacktivist” include signing internet petitions, the wearing of wristbands (“awareness bracelets”) with political messages, putting a ribbon magnet on a vehicle, joining a Facebook group, posting issue-oriented YouTube videos, altering one’s personal data or avatar on social network services, or taking part in short-term boycotts such as Buy Nothing Day or Earth Hour.
When I first read this, I had a good laugh thinking about those “lazy fools” who consider themselves to be doing good from the safety of their own computer. Bracelets? Facebook Messages? Please. Give me a break. What I’m doing is so much…er…I mean, I kind of….crap; I’m a slacktivist. They are talking about me! No! The horror, the humiliation, the shame!
The truth is, the connected world we live in today makes this type of “activism” not only easy, but normal. I will freely admit that I expect to be able to do just about anything I want from the comfort of my computer. Stay connected with friends, make a quick donation to a cause, promote an event I know I will never, ever attend. Look what we’ve created!
This is not all to say that those above things are bad, or even inadvisable. In fact, they are one of the perks and major benefits of the Social Media driven world we live in. The viral nature of the social networks we live in are major players when it comes to spreading the word about anything, good or bad.
So what’s my point, you ask? My point is that those things need to be in addition to actual, physical, self-sacrificial actions. Things that make you a little uncomfortable, a little nervous…a little scared. I say this b/c when we retreat back to the safety of our homes and desks, we now have actual flesh and blood relationships on which to build those online initiatives, and this time it’s with a very different perspective. We’ve gotten our hands dirty. We’ve looked into the eyes of the individuals in need. We’ve broadened our perspective, and ultimately bettered ourselves for it.
What does this look like you may ask? It doesn’t mean you need to start your own charity. It doesn’t mean you need to adopt an entire village of needy people. You don’t need to build a soup kitchen (by all means, if you’d like to please do!). It can be something as simple as getting a group of friends together to make a meal for a homeless shelter. Go through your closet and donate some old clothing. Participate in a “green up” day. Just do something already!
In closing, I offer this directive not from a soapbox, but standing right beside you. I too am guilty of this slacktivism. It’s actually one of the major reasons why we founded Faith & Fortune. We want to use something we are passionate about to help others, even if in some small way. We may sell clothing and great designs, but we’re selling something even greater. The community. People being part of others lives. In the end, that’s what it’s all about, right?