Editorial by The Free Press staff. File Photo

Editorial: slacktivism or activism

The Free Press reporter weighs in on social media movements

Following the #BlackOutTuesday trend where Instagram users posted photos of black squares to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, this past week brought with it yet another social media trend with a seemingly altruistic backbone: the #ChallengeAccepted posts. These hashtags were accompanied by black and white photos of women, along with another hashtag #WomenSupportingWomen.

Millions of women around the world got on board with the movement, taking delicate black and white selfies and stamping their accounts with a seal that says ‘I too, support women’. But how many of those women took it farther than that? How many of those women looked into the origins of the movement? How many of these women, rather than promoting photos of themselves, promoted an organization that fights for women’s rights, a women’s shelter, or a women’s resource center?

While I don’t discount the honourable intention behind the #ChallengeAccepted posts, I do think it’s worth pointing to the growing demonstrations of slactivism on social media.

Slacktivism is defined as the support of a cause through social media or online petitions, in a way that involves little effort and commitment. These demonstrations are often widely consumed and participated in, giving off an air of activism despite their ease and lack of action. They leave participants feeling as though they are tangibly contributing to social justice movements, when in reality their posts are quick to be lost in a swirl of vacation photos and dog videos.

The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.

Those words have been etched into my mind latey, making me deeply consider what it actually takes to create change. Despite the well-meaning nature of the black and while selfies and blacked out squares, I think that real change lies in something far greater than an Instagram post, a Facebook comment, or an outraged opinion.

Change lies in action. Reformation is the product of doing, not of believing.

This isn’t to say that raising awareness or standing in solidarity doesn’t have it’s benefits, but rather this is to say that the battles can’t stop there.



reporter@thefreepress.ca

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