By: Kaylee Bliaya
Are slacktivists really changing the world? The social media world is swarming with thousands, maybe even billions of slacktivists who are “saving the world” one hashtag, like, or social media challenge at a time.
If you’re wondering what slacktivism is, then here’s your answer. Slacktivism is an action taken to bring about political or social change, but requiring only minimal commitment, effort, or risk. Some slacktivist movements are #BringBackOurGirls, #kony2012, and the #dontjudgechallenge.
Slacktivism is a way for people to feel like they’re doing something that impacts society, when they may not be doing anything. It’s also a way for people to make a fake personality to show other people how good of a person they are. “It’s kind of like most things on social media, everyone is pretending to be something they’re not, and it’s a way for people to have a façade of who they are,” said Christina Abuel, a teacher at Samueli Academy.
There have been many online challenges and hashtags that give very little to a cause, like #BringBackOurGirls. This was a phenomenon that started when 200+ girls were taken by Islāmic terrorist group, Boko Haram during the April of 2014. This movement gained attention from people world-wide, but was soon forgotten weeks later. Liking a post, or writing a hashtag didn’t bring back those girls, and while everyone else forgot, those families in Nigeria never will.
#Kony2012 was a slacktivist act that was created to help spread awareness and capture a criminal named Joseph Kony. A group named the Invisible Children Inc filmed a video, which became one of the most viral videos ever and the hashtag, #kony2012 was soon circulating all over the internet. Many people criticized this video for multiple reasons, and soon enough #Kony2012 was forgotten like all internet fads, even though Kony is still out there in the world.
Then are some social media challenges like the #dontjudgechallenge where they don’t really have a purpose, or they don’t get the right message across. This challenge was first started to help promote self-esteem, but later on people just started doing it just for fun and the original purpose was lost. People would make themselves seem ugly using makeup, and then cover the camera to later show how pretty they are with different makeup. “Just changing your makeup isn’t doing anything, it’s just saying that you need to put on makeup to be pretty,” said Celeste Duran. This challenge which was created to promote self-esteem is actually just demoting it. The message that is shown during these challenges was that to be considered pretty you need to have tons of makeup on, instead of just being natural.
There are some people out there that have different opinions. One of the major counterarguments that they tell people is that slacktivism helps spread awareness. That’s true, and spreading awareness really does help a cause, but only to a certain extent. Also, not all slacktivists are lazy people who just sit around and hide behind a screen trying to help the world, there are multiple slacktivists out there who also are activists.
Slacktivism and activism both help society, but the thing is, one may be slightly more effective than the other. So here’s a question for you slacktivists out there, are you really helping the world, and if so….how?
Editor Board, 2017-2018
Editor in Chief: