There is a widely held bias that positions online activism as basically a baby step on the way to ‘real’ activism, and online communication generally as less valuable than offline communication. But in a world where we shop, meet, study, debate and date online, why should we treat online activism as less important and less valuable than the pavement pounding equivalent?
One of the things that drives my properly nuts in my day-to-day life is how talented, capable women insist on underselling themselves in all things. At a conference I was at recently, the women bookended all their comments, speeches, presentations, and questions with comments to the effect of “Well I’m not really an expert/qualified to speak on this issue but…”.
This week ECF list subscribers were alerted to a report; The Nature of Slacktivism: How the Social Observability of an Initial Act of Token Support Affects Subsequent Prosocial Action.
My personal experience is that most discussion of “Slacktivism” is thinly veiled missive about the damn kids today with their tweets and their internets and back in my day we stopped the Vietnam war with nothing but feet on pavement and ra ra ra.
So I was thrilled by this report’s promise of quantitative evidence of slacktivist behaviour. The authors “make the novel prediction that when the initial act of token support is high in social observability (i.e., it is public), people will be less likely to engage in subsequent meaningful contributions to the cause than when the initial act of token support is low in social observability (i.e., it is private).” “As a result of these impression-management motives already being satisfied, consumers will not be particularly motivated to contribute to the cause when a subsequent request for more meaningful support is made.”
If you haven’t been subjected to a conference workshop on email subject lines, congratulations on your successful habitation of a deep, rock-filled burrow on the dark side of the moon in 2013. Continue reading
Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those posts where the take-home message is “a little bit of both”.
Well… sort of. Obviously, you won’t be well served by completely ignoring the quality of your posts.
But if, like me, you have always had a healthy admiration for the smart kid in the class who never says anything and then blows you away with insight one day, I’ve got bad news for you.