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  • Writer's pictureLauren Hooker

How Advocacy Groups Can Leverage Slacktivism

Slacktivism, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.” The term became popular with the rise of social media and viral posts.

Typically, slacktivism encompasses posting images or words of hope and inspiration after disasters utilizing a specific hashtag or liking a charity’s Facebook page and posts. It’s also used to raise money and awareness for a certain issue through viral movements.

For a brief period, we saw examples of slactivism flooding our newsfeeds. In 2014, we saw videos of the #icebucketchallenge to raise money for ALS research. Before that, there was the explosion of the 2012 Kony campaign. Both of these campaigns had the intention of raising money, but instead, people opted to simply share a video or change their profile picture to show support as a way to feel like they did their part to help the cause.

This can cause a struggle for nonprofits hoping to raise funds. However, when it comes to bridging the gap between legislators and citizens for political movements, slacktivism can be a major benefit.

In today’s fast-paced world, our time is limited and valuable. Many Americans often work 40+ hours a week. Some even have 2 jobs. Between working and spending time with family and friends there is little time to get involved with local advocacy organizations or motivate support.

Slacktivism, allows the average American to be able to get involved or contact a local legislator about a certain issue affecting their community by simply connecting with them digitally. People can now multitask their personal lives along with engaging in the political process. With the quick click of a button, anyone can email a forwarded message from an advocacy group directly to whomever they are trying to motivate.

It might seem simple, but when hundreds of the same message flood an inbox, it is hard to ignore.

As we’ve begun to see, activism through digital platforms is making it easier than ever for people to get involved with the political process without having to physically hold a sign on capitol hill or attend a rally.

While it might be seen as negative or lazy, Slacktivism is a new way to communicate and can be a useful tool for advocacy groups to leverage.

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