#Slacktivism: Is it vandalizing real activism?

Stacy McCoy and I had a great conversation via  Twitter about slacktivism the other day, so we felt a blog debate was  the best way to try and settle it. Be sure to head over and check out her post here – http://mymusingmind.wordpress.com/ – after reading mine, of course!




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flickr photo by birgerking

Wikipedia says– “The word is usually 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”.

Urban Dictionary says – “The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem.”

Mashable says – “So called ‘slacktivists’ take easy, social actions in support of a cause – signing a petition, liking a Facebook Page or putting a pink ribbon on their avatar.” (Well the author was Katya Andreson)

From March 6th to the 8th, we saw a lot of this – #Kony2012, #stopkony, Make Kony Famous, Invisible Children. (Heck, we are still seeing a lot of it) The Kony 2012 video that aired on Vimeo and YouTube has over 100 million views and counting! There were more posts on Facebook on March 6th, 7th, and 8th about Kony and Invisble Children than the new iPad announcement (Nice post @notothequo).  Oprah tweeted about it (and seem kind of annoyed that people didn’t know that she already supported Invisible Children).

Everybody who's tweeting me about #LRA I've helped. Gave Major dollars had Invisible Children on my show 2x. showing #STOPKONY Mar 18 #OWN
Oprah Winfrey

The call-to-action of Invisible Children’s video about Kony 2012 is to raise awareness about what Joseph Kony is doing to children in Uganda to put the pressure on the American government to keep advisers in Uganda to help the army there capture Kony. And, it sparked A LOT of conversation on the twittersphere and other social media sites.

The conversation had arguments from both sides of the coin.  Those supporting Invisible Children‘s efforts and those who have pointed out mistakes and misleading facts in the video.

These are two of the better posts I have read in opposition to the Kony 2012 video:

Solving War Crimes with Wristbands: The Arrogance of ‘Kony 2012’
Kony 2012: Causing more harm than good

And you can read Invisible Children’s director respond to these critiques on the Today Show’s website:

Maker of ‘Kony 2012’ video deflects critics, urges action

One thing that has stuck with me throughout the entire thing, though, is the word “SLACKTIVISM”.  One word, and I can’t get over it.  Since the first time I saw it, I know that it has had a negative connotation.  Just read the definitions above, again. But then read Katya’s post on Mashable.


Yes, personally, I like slacktivism.  People are now doing more research on Invisible Children, Joseph Kony and Tri.  People who may just be on Twitter to follow celebrities now know about Kony and Invisible Children.  People who keep their Facebook private and use it only to connect with close friends know about children in Uganda and other African nations who are being kidnapped and forced to be in an army.  All because of clicks, shares and retweets.

This knowledge may only be “profile picture” deep, but in this new world of technology, having your cause heard once is a start.  Then, that person may hear it again.  That person may overhear two other people talking about the cause at a coffee shop.  Next thing you know, the wheels are spinning.  “What is this Kony 2012?” “Who are Invisible Children?” “I need to figure this out”.

I like slacktivism.  It gets people talking.  When people talk, they project.  They project through Facebook & Twitter.  When people start hearing about these things in other places, they research.  Through slacktivism, you just got millions of people to be awareWhich, in my opinion, increases your chances of increasing the number of people who act.

I DISAGREE, WILLIE! I TOTALLY DISAGREE! Hey readers, check out why I disagree with Willie” – Stacy McCoy. Read her post here and join the conversation.  You can leave a comment or tweet either of us – @Willie_Matis & @StacyMccoy.

Do you think slacktivism is good?
Do you think it is vandalizing real activism and offline activists’ work?
Join the conversation! Tweet me.

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FQHC & Homelessness Advocate. Coach. Bartender. I am always learning something new ABOUT social media, and I am always learning something new while I am ON social media. Life is busy, but I still make time to write about the topics I am passionate about. My passions aim at ending homelessness and increasing health care access to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured residents of Indianapolis. My posts touch on a lot of different subjects ranging from the use of social media in advocacy, to the obstacles facing those who need better access to care, and to current events in Indianapolis! I am a millennial who is likes to blog about millennial engagement in advocacy movements, social change, and non-profits. Continually learning about social media, this blog site helps me to sort through my thoughts and discuss with others who have gone through or are just now going through the same experiences as I am.

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