Did you know that, according to Google, the definition of slactivism is actions performed via the internet in support of political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement? So, does this mean that using the internet to be an activist means you are not really doing enough? I disagree.
As a 21-year-old, I am in my prime years of social media use. I check social media daily, and I participate in likes, posts, tweets, shares, direct messages, and anything else that is involved with the various avenues of social media. Because I am active on these sites, I see a lot of activism that is happening daily. Every time that I scroll through my Twitter feed, I see at least one tweet from someone who is encouraging change or trying to promote their opinions on an important matter. According to Alexis Manrodt in her article “The New Face of Teen Activism”, 2 of 5 adults engage in social issues online. I think that this generation has done a great job of showing the difference they can make by using the internet, and it should inspire all of us to do the same!
When I saw tweets like the one above encouraging students everywhere to participate in the national walk out on March 14 to put an end to gun violence, I realized just how effective simple posts can be. I guarantee that there was at least one student who read a tweet, got excited about the cause, and walked out of their school on March 14. I think that many activists that are using social media as their platform have been wildly successful in recruiting a team to support the causes that they are standing up to or for. For example, one of the teens who was a nominee for the Teen Activism Award has used a Twitter account to spread awareness about mental illness and to help those who are going through it. I believe that this is the way we should use activism on our accounts, not to argue or insult, but to encourage and spread awareness about something meaningful.
Although I have not participated in digital activism, I do realize the positive impact that it could have on our society. There have been times when I have signed a petition for things that matter to me, and I will continue to do this. I think that it is my duty to step up my digital activism game by spreading awareness to those who follow me on my social media. I often find myself reading something that I agree with, but choosing not to share it with others because I feel as though I do not know enough information about the topic to defend my opinion. I hope to take more time to read up on important issues so that I can use the technology available to me to make a change and inspire the others to do the same. To conclude, I do not think of digital activism as slacktivism, I think of it as a way to spread awareness quicker than ever before, which is inspiring millions of social media users to make the change that they are all capable of making.
Thanks for reading!