For this Monday, I researched “clicktivism,” which is a word newly defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the use of social media and other online methods to promote a cause,” and “slacktivism,” a word to describe the way in which online activism can make users feel charitable, when in reality internet users are not participating in effective and meaningful activism. Examples of slacktivism include online petitions and facebook likes and posts. Many who view clicktivism as a positive notion believe in the power of social media to disseminate information in ways that can educate and engage people in movements against particular injustices. Clicktivism can also easily connect interested internet users with organizations to get involved with. Others believe that clicktivism produces slacktivists who are oblivious regarding how to thoughtfully engage with the world’s injustices and just want to feel selfless.

The “Kony 2012” film, which went viral last year engaged many clicktivists who attempted to share the video with as many people as possible. A director named Jason Russell from the organization “Invisible Children” made a documentary about the war criminal and guerrilla army leader, Joseph Kony. Russell wanted the video to be widely viewed throughout the world in order to push public leaders to pursue Kony’s arrest. Russell’s video was successful in gaining attention, with over 21 million hits on youtube, countless facebook posts, and tweets. Celebrities including Rihanna, Justin Beiber, Oprah, and even President Obama tweeted and spoke out in favor of the Kony 2012 campaign. Obama did send 100 military experts to help the Ugandan military find Kony, but their efforts were futile. Within months, however, internet users who had once posted enthusiastically on the Kony campaign turned their attention elsewhere, and Joseph Kony has not been taken into custody. I would argue that the majority of people involved in Kony 2012 could be accurately labeled as ‘slacktivists’ as the movement faded from public attention, and they did not attempt to further engage in issues regarding the exploitation of children as soldiers and sex slaves.


One response »

  1. adambrook says:

    I think this “clicktivism” concept is quite fascinating. I remember in Spring 2012 how Kony-crazed people became. It seemed as if it gave people some sort of artificial satisfaction to support this cause. Likewise, it was extremely interesting how fast the project lost momentum once the more fraudulent nature of it was exposed to the public.

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