I do believe that online social activism, AKA “slacktivism” can be beneficial to a certain degree and can be meaningful, and worthwhile. I feel that this is such a smart, peaceful, and cheap way to raise awareness about certain causes. It is peaceful way to raise awareness which is much better then rioting, a whole lot cheaper as you can reach such a large audience online for free. I can speak for myself, knowing that between juggling, work, school, sports and everything else, I do not always allocate time for the news, or any time researching foundations. So when I see people who I follow, using different hashtags, and it is repeatedly being used then I figure it must be of some importance and I will do my own research on it. For example the #HandsUpDontShoot or #BlackLivesMatter began taking over my news feed. I knew I must look it up and see what it was all about. Then upon my research I was able to see why all of these famous people were using the hashtag and saw the importance of equal rights. Mclean’s magazine claims that not only is slacktivism useless, but it actually makes things worse.
However I would disagree with that opinion. The article talks about the uproar of the #BringBackOurGirls and how so many people talked about this problem yet the girls still never came home. I do think that it is sad that the girls were unable to come home, however at least there was awareness built around the subject. Had no one of said anything about this I know for one that I never would have even of heard about this cause. Had there have been no online activism, I can guarantee it would have gone unheard and there would have been nearly zero support.
Another example is when athletes wear pink for the month of October to support breast cancer. Once again it raises awareness for such a great cause. I am aware that many of these atheltes wear the colour pink but do not donate any money. I also know I will never criticize anyone for helping to raise awareness. Who I am to judge someone for what they decide to donate to, or what foundations they support. It is all about raising awareness. I can speak on behalf of my mom, who has battled breast cancer on three separate occasions in her life. And seeing how delighted she gets when she sees athletes wearing pink to raise awareness and showing their support to the so many people who are affected by breast cancer. I feel that so many people are way too quick to judge everyone. It is almost like they become jealous by someone who is trying to raise awareness, so in turn they try to bring them down and make them look like a bad person. I can remember The #ALSIceBucketChallenege and how many people would get in fights about who has donated more, and who hasn’t donated and so on. What people were forgetting about was how successful this “slacktivism” was. It raised awareness for a cause that many people (including myself) never would have thought about donating too. However because of all the online movement people did hear about the cause and it went on to raise $77 million. People were way too caught up on trying to bring someone else down, for not donating enough, or trying to do it for the gram, when in reality we should be trying to support one another. If we continue to bring one another down for supporting these causes eventually the oppressor wins. As a result we will not see any results because people will be too scared to support anything online as they will feel scared about being ridiculed for not doing enough. With all of that being said, I do think though that there are many people who try too hard to be a good person on social media and lose sight and forget the main purpose of what they are doing, and care too much about the post. But I will never complain about that, because if that is what makes them feel like they are doing a good deed, then I am all for that and will support them and not tear them down for their contribution. At the end of the day who has ultimate say in what is enough? I feel that is the person doing the deed should have the final say and decide what is appropriate for them.
Here is a video of an NHL player and his ice bucket challenge. It is the most well thought out ice bucket challenge I saw, (Viewer Discretion is advised)
However I found it sad that so many people still took so much time to criticize. I think that is what is the biggest problem with slacktivism is, the complainers, who waste all of their time whining about other people doing good, whereas if they used all of time they spent complaining and used that same energy into helping out, so much more would be accomplished. Ultimately it would be best if people were to donate more, or participate more in their causes, but at the end of the day we do not need to waste so much time worrying about others, we must first ask ourselves the question, are you doing enough? There is no need to waste time on people raising awareness, as it is no one’s responsibility to do x amount of work, it is up to that person to do whatever they feel necessary, and what they have the time / money /resources for.
This last question is a topic that I have been pondering for quite some time. I know for myself, in the past I never commented on anything online, because I was fearful of offending someone. So instead I would just stay silent and not say anything. Through university I have gained more knowledge, giving myself more confidence to speak and share my beliefs. So, yes I do think that it is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online. With that being said though, there is so many what if’s. I mean everyone has the people they follow on different forms of social media who are far too stubborn, ignorant, and ultimately too uneducated, to even engage in a civil conversation online. In theory people should be able to have an educated debate regarding different social issues, but far too many times it turns into a heated debate and goes off topic. One has to look further the arguably the most powerful man in the world, Donald Trump and see the countless twitter battles he has engaged in. I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to engage in online talks. In theory it looks so great, and works so well. I remember at the beginning of the semester and engaging in our #saskedchat talks and seeing all of the knowledge I gained by other people participating. I think that we should always be able to do this, on many different areas aside from just education.