Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  162 / 168 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 162 / 168 Next Page
Page Background



Social Change

Does Not Just

Come From

Social Media

Sarah Watling

Alan Patterson Public

Speaking Competition

Highly Commended


Slacktivism. I must admit that when I first heard this word, I too was

a little bit confused. It’s not about child vaccinations, child soldiers, or

the beloved topic of drugs in sport. It’s about when you arrive on

Facebook and see the depressing post of, ‘like this if you think

endangered otters should be saved,’ ‘my daughter thinks she’s ugly,

like this if you think she’s beautiful,’ and my personal favourite, ‘my

brother doesn’t have any friends; like this if you want to be his friend.’

In fact, these are all very touching and sad realities, but in truth, your

like will not save the otters, rectify self esteem issues, and you will

never truly be his friend. Yes, that’s right ,Slacktivism stands for slack

activism and I think it’s pretty clear that this wave of activism is too

passive to make a difference and results from the failure of anyone to

really want to take a risk with their beliefs.

Manyof youwill be familiarwith thenewworldwidephenomenon;

the make-up free selfie. On various forms of social media, women of

all ages have been posting pictures of themselves without make-up.

They then nominate someone else to do the same. This whole

concept is roughly linked to breast-cancer awareness, yet author

Emily Buchanan states that

if anything, it was trivialising a very serious

issue and using it to justify a vanity project. She says that if we do something that

dresses itself up as altruism, we feel good. And when it’s so easy, why wouldn’t we?

Take a picture, post it to Facebook, good deed done for the day. Aren’t I wonderful?

Yet, this form of activism is cowardly and it is disengaging society

from the real action, which happens on the streets, not from the

security of our bedrooms. We must make the distinction between

activism and social awareness. Whilst the make up free selfie is fine

for building empathy and recognition, we’d have to be kidding

ourselves to think that this is actually making is difference to the way

we lead our lives.

The revolutionary wave of protests throughout Bahrain, Syria,

Iraq and more, known as the Arab Spring, used social media in their

activism attempts. However, this was only done in order to organise

protests, rallies and demonstrations. I think the issue is that our

mentality has changed so that we believe that social media was the

reason for this revolutionary success. However, in reality the real

action was on the street; where something was at stake, where there

was risk and where this sacrifice was their lives. These people

exhibited so much more courage and strength than we give them

credit for. The development of social media has developed a laziness