Digital Activism: Mountain Mover or Fizzling Firework?
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Something to consider: while the internet can obviously serve to increase real world activism, can't it also completely delegitimize the entire concept of organized charity? Effectively, if anyone with an internet connection can start an online movement, doesn't this decentralize the amount of money/time/effort that can be poured into one individual cause?
(My thought process is this: say before the internet there was one national organization fighting for cause X. Now, with the birth of social media, there are five hundred charities fighting for cause X. So, on one hand the internet allows more people to get involved, but on the other, an effort for change might not be as centrally organized. So in the long run, is the net effect of internet charity good or bad?)
Check out americanselect.org! It's a completely online community which has come together to nominate an (admittedly doomed) 2012 presidential candidate! Interesting to note is that most of the likely Americans Elect candidates are fairly establishment figures-- so has internet culture really changed anything?
Hey Alison. I like the topic if your paper a lot. All of the articles on digital activism prove a point to your argument. Through organizations like Change.org, change in the real world actually happens. Something relevant to us: Last spring semester students in the Union were advocating for gay marriage in New York as students and peers stopped by their table to sign the petition. I think you should lead into the articles and videos with your own comment/point.
Although change is really happening, do you think we need the internet in order to be as active as we are today? Maybe try and compare activism today to activism in the mid 1900s (pre-internet age). Change is occurring, but is it occurring more because we have the internet?
I agree with Rebecca. it will be a good elaboration if you can extend your point to comparison between activism today and before since internet is very easy to access. Through internet, it gets more global and easier to share one's information to others. What changes has led to activism theses days
I agree with Rebecca that your storify has a lot of supporting evidence to shed light on the debate being described. It was also a great use of a variety of the media storify has to offer. I actually find it incredibly interesting how the internet can connect disparate people around the same idea. It seems like a weird comparison, but it makes me think of the popularity of memes and how widespread their jokes are to the public. Is there any research about the way the internet changes ideas of group belonging or togetherness? I've been taking a post-1945 history class and a lot of the activism we've studied (specifically anti-war, civil rights, feminist) had a lot to do with the unity and sense of common purpose they engendered. I'm curious as to whether online activism diminishes that sense of belonging, or alternatively, bring a wider group of people together (this is where that whole meme idea would come back in).
This is a really interesting topic, and I like what you've already done with it. Personally, I have always viewed social activism online as having little to no real impact on anything, but not considered a lot of what it can actually help to accomplish. I think it would be interesting to see some of the negative aspects of the phenomenon though: maybe some cases where the charities weren't fully legitimate, or if it's possible something similar to what Brandon gave as a hypothetical. Also, I'd really love to see if you're able to work in anything involving the Arab Spring of last year. I think that's an excellent example of recent digital activism, and shows how things like Twitter have played a massive role in spreading awareness of causes in places like Egypt or Tunisia.
This is great, Alison! Question: Should your excellent distinction between (1) actions/campaigns that are easy to join and not always effective, and (2) actions/campaigns that represent genuine engagement and, even if easy to join, may be quite effective lead you to reserve the term "slacktivism" for the former? In other words, maybe it's not the best term for the latter? Perhaps, instead of asking whether slacktivism can be effective, we need an anatomy of different kinds of online activism, together with their different purposes, structures, barriers to entry, levels of engagement, and effects?