Slacktivism: A 21st century term defined by Dictionary.com as "actions taken to bring about political or social change but requiring only minimal commitment, effort, or risk." I consider examples of slacktivism to include, but are not limited to, signing online petitions, sharing think pieces on Facebook, or changing one's profile picture to a certain image in support of a cause. In reality, everyone has been a slacktivist at one point or another, myself included. There's no harm in sharing your views and opinions through social media, but after awhile, you have to wake up and realize it really isn't doing much.
Many claim that social media campaigning and sharing messages through the Internet help to spread the word on issues and get people aware. However, I believe that it does nothing more than spread awareness about an issue that's in no way getting fixed. Now, those who know me are very aware of the constant think pieces and videos that I share on my page and may be quick to call me a hypocrite. However, a key difference between myself and a slacktivist is that I also try to go out and speak up for what I believe in.
In this day and age, most sources of information we receive is through the media, so it's easy to get comfortable and satisfied with just signing a petition to save the whales. However, that's not enough. Not everyone is an activist, I agree. To be honest, you won't see me chaining myself to a fire hydrant in solidarity for anyone anytime soon. But that doesn't mean that I won't attend a rally on a matter that I fervently support. As millennials, we have to find the time to use our voices to speak, not our fingers to share. If there's a march on your campus for an issue you believe in, go, don't just repost the flier on your Instagram. If there's an event that needs volunteers for an organization you'd love to be a part of, sign up, don't just click that you're attending the event on Facebook. There are little ways in which you can make a difference for your community and issues that you support that are much more effective than social media.
Oftentime, we are quick to share about why we think something is unjust, but aren't as quick to go out and work to fight that injustice. Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, responded to critics of today's injustice by asking, "OK, but what do you really want? What should replace the system?" If all we do as a generation is use social media as a platform to share about our oppression without actively voicing our opinions where it matters, who is ever going to know what we really want? The point I am simply trying to make is that 500 people gathered together in protest is much greater than 5,000 likes for a picture on Facebook.