The use of social media and hashtags have allowed people to create a series of protest movements raising awareness of important issues and even revolutions. It is these platforms that give users the ability to amplify, coordinate and distribute such global campaigns such as #blacklivesmatter, #illridewithyou, #arabspring and #euromaidan. Ultimately it has altered the way in which we perceive the power of the internet.
However, this type of digital activism has come with some back lash. This method is even seen as controversial by some and is referred to as ‘slacktivism’- an ideal type of activism for a lazy generation. A study that was conducted in 2014 found that of a particular campaign, Save Darfur, of the people who supported the cause on Facebook it was only 0.24% that actually donated (The structure of online activism, 2014). It’s as if users believe that just by liking something the problem can be fixed. Which brings me to these ridiculous memes. It’s crazy to think ‘reposts’ and ‘likes’ can actually help someone, sure it can raise awareness and allow media attention but it doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. Maybe this is the reason why some people believe the concept isn’t reliable.
So I ask you is this ‘Digital activism’ or ‘slacktivism’?