Slacktivism and today's social media society

Aug 2015
333
Korean in Canada
So while talking to a friend about PC culture and that leading to me reading about Kony 2012, I realized that there is a term "Slacktivism," which is now one of my favorite words of all time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slacktivism

This wiki page itself has both sides of the argument on it, which does help me not be too biased, but I am wondering how people here feel about today's trend of seemingly supporting a cause, without much effort, by clicking like and share buttons and changing profile pictures and stuff like that.
The wiki does mention how such actions have helped in countries that limit freedom of speech, and I do agree with that, but what about today's trend that is so prevalent in the first world countries?

Big examples I see are the KONY2012 and #BringBackOurGirls. Both these trends were humongous and explosive on social media, but I personally don't think anything significant happened because of these social media Slacktivist actions. Donations for KONY2012 went apparently only to make another KONY video, and #BringBackOurGirls didn't lead to any successful rescues, and these two trends are basically under the ground while new hashtags and social media issues pop up by the dozen.

I feel like people should sacrifice something in themselves in order to show real support. The social media support though have people sacrifice almost nothing - it actually might only benefit the person "supporting" with the self-satisfying feeling of clicking "like" and "share" buttons. Though, of course, People do donate and these do help in many times.

So what do you guys think? Do you guys think this kind of thing helps or only distracts from real ways to help? Or perhaps it helps to some extent but seems to be going too far?
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,937
Korea
So what do you guys think? Do you guys think this kind of thing helps or only distracts from real ways to help? Or perhaps it helps to some extent but seems to be going too far?
It probably neither really helps nor really distracts. Rather, it highlights that often enough, expressing "concern" is more about status seeking than about solution seeking, which is to say, it is something one does to show others in one's community or social circle that one is a "good person." You can see the same thing with the Cecil the Lion farce: people dressing their kids up as lions, leaving harassing messages at the man's place of business, and so forth, but most importantly, taking self-shots of oneself doing it and posting them prominent on Twitter, Face Book, or whatever. The reverse also happens. "White nationalists," "Black nationalists," "Islamists," and other supposed supporters of politically-incorrect causes often enough express rhetoric, post ideas, and so forth which are out of tune with their actions. These people are against often just status seeking within their groups, with little real desire to do anything to make the world shift in the direction of their purported beliefs.
 
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notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,787
UK
since he's still at large and in charge of his Resistance Army, and it's moot whether he or the Ugandan government forces are the true villain or "the more evil party", then i think the guy who made this movement did it for kicks.
 

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Fox--I don't think it's desire for status but rather desire to feel good about oneself.

We've somehow gotten the idea that thinking and speaking good thoughts about a problem are equivalent to doing something about it.
 
Aug 2015
333
Korean in Canada
since he's still at large and in charge of his Resistance Army, and it's moot whether he or the Ugandan government forces are the true villain or "the more evil party", then i think the guy who made this movement did it for kicks.
I agree, I do feel like the kony2012 trend did nothing except give the movie maker tons of money and give fame to Kony. But from what I read, all of his other high ranked men have been arrested apparently. Last guy actually turned himself in. Some say this is due to the film, but that's a bit dubious.

And yea I do agree that this thing is to feel better about oneself.

Many of these are very shallow social media trends that died down with no result whatsoever other than people feeling better at their illusion sense of accomplishment.

But are there examples of actual accomplishments? Ive read what happened in Egypt and whats slowly happened in Saudi Arabia (women voting and such) is a benefit of slackvitism
 

Black Dog

Ad Honorem
Mar 2008
9,990
Damned England
It probably neither really helps nor really distracts. Rather, it highlights that often enough, expressing "concern" is more about status seeking than about solution seeking, which is to say, it is something one does to show others in one's community or social circle that one is a "good person." You can see the same thing with the Cecil the Lion farce: people dressing their kids up as lions, leaving harassing messages at the man's place of business, and so forth, but most importantly, taking self-shots of oneself doing it and posting them prominent on Twitter, Face Book, or whatever. The reverse also happens. "White nationalists," "Black nationalists," "Islamists," and other supposed supporters of politically-incorrect causes often enough express rhetoric, post ideas, and so forth which are out of tune with their actions. These people are against often just status seeking within their groups, with little real desire to do anything to make the world shift in the direction of their purported beliefs.
- Fox

Well said.
 

Fox

Ad Honorem
Oct 2011
3,937
Korea
Fox--I don't think it's desire for status but rather desire to feel good about oneself.
Those aren't strictly different things: how many people feel about themselves mirrors to a strong extent how their social community feels about them. There are exceptions, but those exceptions are unlikely to spend much time engaged in "slacktivism."
 
Sep 2014
1,222
Queens, NYC
I practice it myself. I click "Like" and sign-electronically-petitions and the like. But all I do otherwise is vote on Election Day.

I'd like to contribute money, but I'm not that well off. And, frankly, I've not the energy to work on the causes. Best I can do is encourage; and, on Election Day, vote.

I don't know how useful my slacktivism is.