Click Tweet Share Repeat

So I’ve blathered on about citizen journalism and crowd-fundingwho wants to hear about clicktivism??!!!

Rocky Horror bored gif

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!’

The Dude Big Lebowski

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?

Michelle-obama- #bringbackourgirls

Let’s take a brief look at #BringBackOurGirls.

Jumoke Balogun, Nigerian-American and co-founder and co-editor of 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?

Image Credits –featured, second, third, fourth




21 responses to “Click Tweet Share Repeat

  1. With a campaign like the #icebucketchallenge for ALS which strongly encouraged people to donate as well as share their video on social media, perhaps that awareness has created change (actual money in the bank!) So perhaps it’s more about poor cause marketing creating that “clicktivisim” than the root cause or charity itself?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cheers for the comment Sammi! ALS was definitely an interesting campaign but it’s worth noting that the majority of donations (and large ones at that) came from celebrities. Most participants didn’t actually donate to the cause. There’s a lot to unpack : )


  2. Balogun raises a valid point that I hadn’t thought of before….. it’s true that tweets hold very little action in the real world, sure they can amass knowledge and create a decent share of voice for the author, but beyond that tweets can seem shallow and powerless. Perhaps the authors would be best to ask their audience of tweeter to enlist in a particular action, donate money to a particular cause, or volunteer their time or knowledge to make a direct impact to the issue they are supporting by their tweets?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Hollie! Yeah I totally agree and I think that the simplicity of clicktivism means that people often forget about or are unaware of the bigger picture. I also think that they are usually shallow and an encouragement of more direct action is needed : )

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems to me that clicking might raise awareness a little but doesn’t get much follow through to making change. It’s too easy to be unaccountable for your ‘click’. Is the click better than nothing? I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Kath, thanks for the comment : ) Yep I think that’s a great point about being unaccountable for your ‘click’ and I think this is part of what Balogun was expressing. I worry to that it makes people feel like they’ve contributed without having to take the next, more meaningful step.


  4. I agree with Sammi in the fact that if the tweet or share encourages something like fundraising, a tangible outcome, then it is helping to create a change.

    I think tweeting or sharing can help raise awareness, but only really if it generates conversation. I personally think if the same message is shared over and over, users/viewers can be one immune to the actual message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insight Abbey! I hadn’t thought about people becoming immune to the message – this is a very significant point. I guess it kind of happened with ALS when people dos the challenge but didn’t actually know what it was for. A powerful message could also lose impact through becoming less shocking and so forth. Interesting stuff!


  5. One of my favourite campaigns to hate on is Movember. I confess the key reason is my hatred of facial hair and the sheep mentality, but I would happily put that aside if it were to raise money for a good cause. However, after it had started gaining momentum amongst people I knew, I noticed that almost nobody actually signed up and was raising money – last year only one guy I asked was doing so (and not only did he raise a good amount he grew a hilarious handlebar moustache).
    Once I looked into, the information available on the topic seemed to indicate that its effectiveness is definitely limited.

    One campaign that was a bit better was the No Make Up Selfies for Cancer which (only in the UK) somebody unaffiliated with the Cancer Council had started but their PR team jumped on it and set up a number which you could text and automatically donate 5 pounds to. Perhaps it’s just a matter of the appropriate professionals getting involved?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make an excellent point! I think too often people engage in the activity but not the action required to create change or raise money that will assist a social cause. No Make Up Selfies was interesting as it did raise a lot of money but I question it from a feminist perspective ; )


    • Thanks Ashleigh! Yes I think it is often self-serving, something to show you ‘care’ and it also gives you a sense of belonging with the online communities participating in the campaign. Interesting that #NoMakeUpSelfie did raise heaps of money though, do you think this is a sign of effective clicktivism?


  6. Hi,
    Clicktivism, helps to promote the cause or it is easy way to spread the message. But the question is that “Is it always helpful or not? Does everyone who is clicking or sharing knows about the cause or organisation or people are just following the trend. May be in Data Collection, Organisation get a good grade or response, however the question is same that how much people get correct information.
    Ice Bucket Challenge campaign for ALS is the good example. According to my personal experience, after watching two to three video, I thought, I should check on Google for ALS. But unfortunately I could not get proper information at start. After keep checking and asking to my friends and watching few documentary, I got the good information about it. But may be many people do not bother to get the information or share the videos. Or take this challenge as a fun (sound stupid) but it can be reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insight Sana : ) That’s really interesting that you couldn’t easily find the information about ALS – definitely a flaw of their campaign. I think you’re spot on to ask whether it is actually helping. Do you think that it can also contribute to a larger problem, such like Balogun explained?


  7. I guess my thoughts on this is that i have 2 points..

    With everything, i believe needs a balance there is always some negative that comes along with the positive. you create a something good and raise awareness of a world event for example ISIS people speak up about it and raise awareness but can causes division and conflict between certain religious groups and create revenge attacks when the people involved is only a minority in that religious group.

    In saying that it can be an effective and powerful tool in spreading the word around but i guess you need to be aware and know the message being sent is clear and concise and know that what is being sent out is available to be read and seen by everyone. Another thing is Just like all the different challenges being sent around social media like chain mail, most of the people joining dont know the real message of the challenge. The just do it for a bit of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Novi! Thanks for your words of wisdom : ) I think the message is definitely an integral part of it and campaigners often rush into it (or appear to) without thinking about how the message will be interpreted, what will it cause people to do and so forth.

      As you mention with ISIS, it can also create new messages that are unintentional but powerful. it’s a very interesting topic hey.


  8. Mmm, “Clicktivism” – only in the urban dictionary would you find this word. Is it the next level up from “like”. I’m not sure it could stop a bull-dozer up-rooting a tree. Not quite as affective as chaining yourself to it. Would the passive “Clicktivist” put themself out to be an activist, attend a rally? I think it does create awareness of world issues and get people involved on some level and spread propaganda on other levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers for the comment Vicki : ) I totally hear you with questioning whether people would actually engage in action offline. Likewise I think you’re right that it can be used to spread propaganda or shallow ideas about a complex topic.


  9. Great blog post and really interesting topic! I think clicktivism is hurting activism but that’s not to say that there’s no place for it for the purposes of raising awareness. It’s important to note though that as the number of people reached gets bigger it doesn’t necessarily mean that the number of people who will be driven by it to actually help will also grow. When we ‘like’ a page consciously or subconsciously we do it to assuage guilt or with the expectation that as the cause gains more likes somehow that momentum magically catalyses change. More often than not it’s for reputational benefits and leads to the paradox of community life where people don’t feel they need to get involved because there’s already a large following of active people serving the cause. However, clicktivism today looks like the new first rung to activism and gather support and build momentum which is a good thing!


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