Unfortunately tragedies and injustices have filled our news feeds for much of 2016. The year brought a crushing election defeat, a pipeline standoff, and a devastating mass shooting in Orlando. As our hearts go out to all the victims in need we look for any possible way to help. Actually let me re-phrase that, we look for the easiest way to help. The way that requires the absolute least amount of effort. Forget volunteering, is there a way we can help by clicking a button on our phones? That way we can shit on the toilet and still check-in at the North Dakota standoff sight and feel like we’re being justice warriors. It’s important that we can show everyone how kind we are on social media but that doesn’t mean we have to go out and actually do anything. Minimum effort and (perceived) maximum reward. Welcome to era of the slacktivist.
Social media is the one and only tool of the slacktivist and the photo filter for a cause on Facebook is the perfect example of slactivism at its best. Just by clicking a button your profile photo will tell all your friends that you are a good person. We had rainbows for Orlando and French flags for Paris. While the idea has good intentions at its heart it’s by far the laziest form of support we can give. A visual show of support is nice but I doubt the real victims see your photo much less get comfort from it. Maybe I’m wrong but if I had a loved one killed in Orlando a rainbow filter would not make me feel better. Personally my favorite part of the filter for a cause phenomenon is when everyone starts to switch their photos back to normal. I mean I’m totally united with Orlando but this picture from last night is too cute to go to waste. I’ve been guilty of being a slacktivist just like everyone else. I had so much anxiety over this election yet it still wasn’t enough to get me to go out and get involved in the process. I could have volunteered at a voting site or donated to Hillary’s campaign. Nope, I just talked about it to like minded friends and posted a picture of Hillary on Instagram. I’m sure she appreciates my valuable contribution. I mean that Instagram picture got 37 likes. You’re welcome Hillary. Yes you’d also be correct to assume that most slacktivists are also self righteous. If you try and tell a them that their profile photo doesn’t matter they’ll get very defensive because to them profile photos really do change lives.
This topic inspired me to take action. I wasn’t sure where to start so I set up a reoccurring monthly donation to charity. I know it would be best if I volunteered but I’m starting out small. Going into the new year I hope that complacency doesn’t take over because we need to stay active. I challenge everyone to take action in anyway they now how as long as it goes beyond social media. We are so busy complaining that 2016 was awful that we are failing to realize that 2017 might actually be much worse and an angry rant on Facebook isn’t going change that. Donations of time or money are what matters. Let’s all do our part to help fight against the urge to be slacktivists.