Slacktivism: a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it take satisfaction from the feeling they have contributed.
Some examples of “slacktivism” are the popular #nomakeupselfie and …wait for it… #bringbackourgirls. The hell, you say! That was my reaction, too. I have a bone to pick with this term. I find it quite offensive! It seems to imply that by being active online you don’t care as much or that you have a blasé attitude about injustices. It is derived from the word slacker, after all. But I would argue that raising social awareness about specific causes is very important and #bringbackourgirls opened so many people’s eyes. It shined a light on Nigeria’s corrupt government and brought people together despite race and gender. Even though so many people feel helpless around the world, at least we can feel united with something as simple as a hashtag. As my inspiration, Malala Yousafzai, said: “The girls in Nigeria are my sisters.”
People who look down on “slacktivism” argue that it does little to evoke a change. To be sure, there are some social media causes that don’t make a lot of sense to me, like the aforementioned #nomakeupselfie. When I saw this popping up on my newsfeed, sometimes the post wouldn’t even mention breast cancer or provide a link for donations. Even more confusing are the posts that simply state what color bra strap the person is wearing. Perhaps instead of looking down on these people who I feel have good intentions, we can start a conversation with them. Encourage a link to the charity or campaign they are trying to raise awareness about. Ask them why they feel passionate about the campaign.
When it comes down to it, posting something is better than nothing at all. (Except for those “Save the Ta-Tas” or “Don’t Let Cancer Steal Second Base” awareness campaigns because seriously that is objectification and demeaning and reduces women to a pair of breasts but I will save that rant for another day.) Stop being all sanctimonious in your endeavors because no one likes that. If a simple hashtag enlightens one single person then I would say that’s better than nothing.