Here’s the thing about slacktivism. It affords ordinarily sedentary people the ability to get warm fuzzies for “doing something” about The Problem™ without actually having to do something about the problem.
Over the last ten years I’ve seen a lot of self-righteous slacktivism perpetrated under the guise of “raising awareness” but the great bulk of it has typically been done in a very self-congratulatory fashion. Ergo, “Yay, look at me, I’m raising awareness, I’m so awesome!” Which too often has zero impact on anything real in the world — beyond the slacktivist getting to stroke his or her own ego.
If all the hours of time spent every year — by slacktivists pounding away furiously at blog posts, twitter, and facebook — were actually donated to organizations, churches, charities, and other bodies badly in need of manpower, think of how much actual progress could be made. On all sorts of things.
Of course, toiling away in the ranks — as a faceless volunteer — isn’t as sexy as slamming up an indignant blog article decrying this or that perceived evil in the world. Nobody clicks “like” every time you log time at the Red Cross or with a womens domestic violence shelter or at your local Rotary Club, or the church food drive. You won’t get re-tweeted for being a volunteer at the local community hospital. You won’t become Internet Famous for collecting used clothes and bundling them up for single moms in need. Nobody is going to “follow” you for taking a shovel and a mower over to the home of that old widow on the corner, and doing her yard work for her.
But you will be having an actual, positive impact.
So, here’s my quiet hope that the energy being dumped into slacktivism (of all sorts) can be diverted towards actually making a difference in non-internet-famous ways — that are actually impactful.
Because if you’re not willing to get anonymously dirty in the service of whatever cause it is that motivates you, maybe that’s a big sign that you need to reexamine your motivations?