Lee and Hsieh (2013) found that "slacktivism
" actually increased the likelihood of individuals engaging in charitable activities: After signing an online petition, study participants were more likely to donate to a charity than their peers who were not asked to sign the petition.
Enriching the criticism of Morozov's "slacktivism
," focus group participants rhetorically asked, "if a click on a link is enough to do activism, would anyone sacrifice some time and effort to join a protest or march?" Thus, "slacktivism
," or "clictivism," which simply involves a mouse click on the computer, is likely to dilute "real" activism, and it takes time for Facebook's activists to turn into real activists, outside the digital space (Harlow and Guo, 2014: 463-478).
Given the "slacktivism
" thesis, furthermore, the democratization of Internet-enabled access to low-cost acts can come at the expense of deepening citizenship that is manifested by more consequential activities to challenge the status quo (Morozov 2011).
The tendency toward slacktivism
on the issue of women's participation in debate was also evident in one last finding from our analysis of social media posts about the Celebration of Women in Debate Tournament: calls for volunteer judges met with almost no response.
But there's a sense in which the internet's virtual forms of political engagement, its slacktivism
and Twitter mobs and meme wars, might also limit online radicalism's real-world reach, encouraging 1930s playacting and recondite debates that never leave the realm of pixels and nostalgia.
As terms like 'slacktivism
', 'clicktivism', and 'hashtag activism' suggest, political engagement online has been the subject of much cynicism along the lines expressed by Razer, with critics arguing that it achieves little beyond helping individuals feel good about themselves (Munro 2013, 24; Casey 2016, 3).
"Saturday Night Live" excellently tackled slacktivism
with its Thank You, Scott sketch, leading many us to realize that we're Scott.
And the obsession with polling aggregators and fancy widgets, coupled with the failings of the polls themselves, lulled people into slacktivism
, inaction, or even showy obstructionism.
The cynical "slacktivism
hypothesis" holds that if citizens use social media for political conversation, those conversations will be fleeting and vapid.
In its proud and savvy endorsement of clicktivism, MicroMappers may seem like a literal application of the liberal ideal of "involvement made easy," which, as Marres showed, has framed expectations of public participation in both theory and practice long before the rise of digital slacktivism
(Marres, 2012: 62, 60-81).
In 2014, the Oxford English Dictionary introduced its new word of the year, slacktivism
, defined as "support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement." (38) Evgeny Morozov argues that Internet activism undermines more effective real world activism: "When the marginal cost of joining yet another Facebook group are low, we click 'yes' without even blinking, but the truth is that it may distract us from helping the same cause in more productive ways." (39) Morozov considers such activism a distraction from more effective forms of advocacy.