Clicktivism gets a bad rap by plenty of haters on the web, but lately there have been some fantastic examples of effective digital activism. What the naysayers miss is that rallying support through online social media is only one aspect within a broader effort, not the entire campaign. And it’s been shown to be a powerful tool for raising awareness and dollars.
Consider a few of the groups that have nailed it by promoting their causes through a whole mess of activities—some of which even get human beings away from their computer screens for a little while:
- The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge crowdfunded its way to more than 200 million dollars worldwide
- Online activists in Egypt brought thousands together via Facebook for an historic anti-government protest
- The famous KONY2012 film racked up hundreds of millions of views, raised over $30 million in donations, and even moved the POTUS to action
- An online petition against Bank of America’s $5/month debit fee caused the bank to drop the tax
- Waterislife.com pulled a ton of traffic when they produced First World Problems Anthem, a one minute youtube clip that won millions of views by putting a clever twist on a clichéd phrase
Indeed, clicktivism has had some outstanding results.
But how can we convince the skeptics? Maybe we should remind them of the finer points.
Sure, clicking buttons is easy. Maybe a little too easy if you ask a detractor. But why shouldn’t it be? Showing moral support doesn’t have to be back-breaking in the digital age. And a gesture as simple as a Facebook like or a Youtube up-vote, at the very least, shows that we are not indifferent — even if a person cares only enough to click, it’s more than most people do.
Plus, giving props with a click is reassuring to others. Like-minded folks out there see the number of views and likes and realize they’re not alone in their opinion.
And let’s not forget what’s most rewarding for the clicktivist: we become better informed. Often the online petition we sign or the cause we like brings us new information; they broadcast issues we didn’t even know existed. It gets us thinking and talking about problems around the world and starts the kinds of discussions that lead many people to chip in and get involved for real.
In other words, online activism raises awareness in a big way. And that awareness is the first step to anything. There’s just no good reason to lump all these nice qualities in with slacktivism.