Clicktivism, the use of social media to further social causes, can be seen all over our Facebook and Twitter feeds. As shown through examples like the #BlackLivesMatter movement, activists and social justice advocates everywhere are utilizing social media to gain supporters and spread awareness for their respective causes. However, is ‘liking’ a post, sharing a video, or signing an online petition doing that much by means of social change? Is clicktivism effective, or is it a form of slacktivism?
As someone who has personally used social media in order to mobilize communities and organize action events, I assert that clicktivism, when used intentionally, can prove to be extremely effective. A ‘like’ can be a powerful thing if used as an act of solidarity. For those who would like to attend an action event for a cause, and are unable to do so, sharing a Facebook event can help to spread awareness and might even prompt others to attend that very event.
Perhaps we should re-frame the slacktivist discourse, and begin thinking about the ways in which activism can be digitally enhanced. If a series of retweets or the addition of a few hashtags at the end of a post can cause hundreds or thousands of people to attend a demonstration or protest, that is truly meaningful. I have been reflecting on this post I found regarding The Impact of Clicktivism that speaks to advantages of social media in the realm of activism today:
“…whether or not clicktivists take action offline, sharing a post inherently increases visibility and raises awareness, regardless of the amount of effort (or lack thereof) exerted by the “sharer” or “retweeter.” It is possible that a certain user does not accomplish anything further after pressing “share,” but that user’s friend might be scrolling through their newsfeed and be inspired to do more. Although using a hashtag and retweeting a human rights organization does not necessarily equate to action, the importance of such actions in rallying support for global issues cannot be diminished.”
The post also mentions that the Facebook community raised over $10 million in two days for relief efforts in Nepal after the recent earthquake, simply by giving users the option to donate. It’s difficult to argue with numbers like that! To me, it seems like being a clicktivist isn’t a terrible thing, as long as you click with purpose.