Yep me neither, I know it’s been done to death but I promise I’ll be quick!
With my political economist hat on I’d say clicktivism (or slacktivism) mainly sucks. Research suggests that awareness does not create change and social movements require strategy, time and resources far beyond sharing memes and hitting ‘like’.
Now I know I said that I wouldn’t do this to you but well, I lied…welcome to the stage – GRUNIG!!
When it comes to power dynamics, veteran scholar, James Grunig holds a more idealistic view than political economists (aligned with cultural theorists – see Theory of agency). He goes as far as to say that people “now have as much or greater power than organisations” (Why thank you Coomb & Holladay).
Grunig’s all, ‘YOU can be an ACTIVIST on social media and CREATE CHANGE!’
But what about marginalised groups who don’t always have sufficient access to, or knowledge of, technology? Not to mention the time it takes to commit to activism. When people have more pressing, day-to-day issues to deal with it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to start a successful, online campaign.
What about the implications of Western involvement in campaigns that focus on non-Western issues?
Let’s take a brief look at #BringBackOurGirls.
Jumoke Balogun, Nigerian-American and co-founder and co-editor of compareafrique.com wrote an awesome piece called “Dear Americans, Your Hashtags Won’t #BringBackOurGirls. You Might Actually Be Making Things Worse.“
“…when you pressure Western powers, particularly the American government to get involved in African affairs and when you champion military intervention, you become part of a much larger problem.”
Balogun concludes that “If you must tweet, tweet to support and embolden them [Nigerian activists and journalists], don’t direct your calls to action to the United States government who seeks to only embolden American militarism.”
This is a great flippin piece and I believe that political economists would agree with Balogun’s sentiments.
What do you guys think about this and clicktivism in general?