For as long as there have been issues in the world, there have been those who have tried to rectify them. In the past, this activism found its voice in active acts of protest such as rallies, boycotts and sit-ins. It used to be the case that in order to be seen as participating in the cry for change you had to be physically involved, but is that still the case today?
Today’s activism revolves a lot around the concept of clicktivism, and as such has been criticised as being too passive, requiring little actual effort from individuals, and having very little effect in the wider world. For these reasons, it is often referred to as “slacktivism“,
Clicktivism is an ever growing trend. Chances are you don’t have to scroll down the news feed on your favourite social media platform for long before you catch a glimpse of an image that disguises itself as activism. Whether it’s a “1 like = 1 prayer” type of image, or an viral video such as the incredibly popular Kony 2012 campaign, which was able to “use social media to coordinate action across a more dispersed network” (Jenkins, 2012, p11), campaigns revolving around this “lazy” form of activism are everywhere. It is perhaps the diversity and abundance of these different campaigns that lends to the distrust of their effectiveness.
There are, however, some useful forms of clicktivision. Campaigns run by organisations and websites such as GetUp! and Change.org allow people to start petitions and join movements about a variety of issues, from refugee rights, to mariage equality. One of the most popular campaigns that recently ran was a petition to recognise peacekeepers who are killed while serving by listing their names on the honour role. With over 42,000 signatures, the petition was taken to the director of the Australian War Memorial, who would go on to revert the Memorial’s previous position of not including peacekeepers on the honour role as they were not killed “at war”. This is proof that while some forms of clicktivism are little better than indifference, the activism of a new generation still has the power to bring about real change.