Can Slacktivism Be Changed?

The question of these readings are, can uprisings be attributed to social media? While new media is substantive for change, and without it and new information through technology there would be no change at all, it cannot create a serious uprising in the modern world. Anything on these social media networks can be seen by the government, whom have the opportunity to weed out information they want the public to see, and that which they don’t, as Morozov talks about.

Gladwell talks about weak tie connections versus strong tie connections, referring to sit in movements. While week tie connections are all that’s needed to attempt to create an uprising or protest, they usually don’t have any sort of real change or outcome. Howard talks about the tweeting to Iran from Australia. The issue is, these Australian have not actually having an impact on these people, they are actually  putting them in more harm. This week tie connection is not substantive activism. Morozov points out that there isn’t much of a difference between pre-social media protests and their results as post-social media protests and their results. This is due to what Morozov refers to as, slacktivism. Someone feels that they’re making a contribution to a cause by using social media, yet they’re making no real impact. Therefore, the question that these readings asked is answered- an uprising cannot be attributed to social media.

My question for this reading is this- Are there adjustments to our social media- Twitter, Facebook, ect- or a new type of social media, that could reduce slacktivism and increase the impact we have on a certain issue or event?

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3 Responses to Can Slacktivism Be Changed?

  1. jmclancy says:

    I thinking touching on slacktivism during this week of class is very important , however, there a few things I’d like to point out. I think it’s important to articulate ‘pre-social media protests’ and ‘post-social media protests’. One may read it alone as ‘social media protest’ ,which is oxymoronic in the sense where a ‘social media protes’t is essentially slacktivism, and to me, hardly worth mentioning at all. I find it also important to define ‘uprising’ and how you are referencing it. Sure there are uprisings everywhere, some on social media alone, but in this case, we are referring to the uprising and protests in Iran. In this instance, we cannot attribute the beginning of this protest to social media (simply because it was going to start regardless), however I find it fair to credit social media for the awareness of the Iranian protests, yet not it’s progress towards justice. To answer your final question, I think the idea or phrase ‘social media’ needs to be kept as far away as possible from the word impact or change. In order to make a substantial change from online collective action, I think we need to produce a new website that outlines the necessary steps to produce a desirable and substantial outcome, which is, in this case, change. The only thing we can rely on social media to do is bring awareness, not a true impact.

  2. alemor7 says:

    I think that this relies heavily on ones definition of slacktivism. If the goal is to inform the public about certain issues and certain viewpoints, I feel that social media accomplishes the goal. However, if the goal is to bring about change, then I feel that social media has not yet evolved to such a stage where it can produce this sort of reaction to “social media protests” which remain solely online, oftentimes in the forms of petitions, but do not take place in the physical world. In order for social media to elicit something other than slacktivism tendencies, it would have to evolve in a way that addresses many of the issues Gladwell brings up; for example, a system by which a hierarchy and social order are determined so that the leader can delegate responsibilities and achieve physical and lasting results. I am not sure how exactly this would be possible due to restraints in things such as group funding or the ability to physically meet up in person, however, if social media found a way to work around these obstacles, I think it is possible to create more meaningful and impacting results.

  3. liarosen says:

    I think the solutions to slacktivism do not lie in the platform, but rather in the users. I find that an understanding of what is actually going on in these online communities, on the part of the users, is really what is going to bring about change. If users educate themselves about the structure of these systems, how forming these weak online social ties can connect people and what it truly takes for people to bring about significant social change, they may begin to use social networks in new ways. Currently, I think social networks give us the power to participate in social activism in a great variety of ways. The problem, however, is that people do not realize that changing a profile picture or sharing a youtube video is not directly translating to social change.

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