By Indira Midha
The Oxford Dictionary defines Slacktivism as “Actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, for example signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on social media.”
Slacktivism is an extremely popular concept throughout various social media platforms, but I’ve noticed it the most on Tumblr and Twitter. The argument as to whether or not slacktivism is actually productive is ongoing. It is nowhere near the intensity of participating in sit-ins, protests, and marches, which is what makes people wonder: is slacktivism worthwhile?
I think that hands-on and in-person participation in activism is what we should strive for in order to make appropriate social change. However, I do believe slacktivism plays a big role in millennial activism in this technological age. The media controls everything these days, without a doubt, and therefore it influences and educates consumers. If education about important topics is present and prevalent in the media, people will see it in an environment in which they do not have to do serious and thoughtful analysis. Thus, these simplified messages may draw their attention to information that may have been overlooked in a traditional news format.
Our generation gets information from the Internet, but reading an online news journal may not be the most appealing option in an age of quick fixes and instant gratification. Slacktivism could foster interest in becoming involved in activism, but it could also be a gateway for messages to reach greater audiences. Through a simple retweet, an audience of hundreds to thousands of different users has the opportunity to be exposed to the content. Through this simple action that takes seconds and the tap of a finger, important activist messages can be shared with the world. Slacktivism is a very good gateway to creating more and more social justice activists in the millennial generation.
I learned a lot of what I know about social justice through social media. I found a #BlackLivesMatter thread on Twitter a few years ago and it changed how I viewed the world. By simply viewing a retweet from a classmate, I was exposed to an incredibly valuable movement that I now write about on my blog and actively advocate for in many aspects of my life.
There is power in retweeting, reblogging and hashtagging. A retweet led me to become more aware of social issues, and then become a frequent social justice activist and blogger. Make your 160 characters count; you never know who you will inspire.
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