I hate the term Slacktivism.

I really hate the term slacktivism, and it’s been coming up quite a lot lately. You wanna know why I hate it so much? BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH THING!!

I’m starting to suspect that the only ones who need that term, is someone who wants to feel good and snooty about not participating in something “viral” and “folksy”.

The term is meant to describe the notion that people “nowadays” (because as we all know, everything was so much better before), “just click like and share and never do anything of real value and only want to be seen in social media and blah blah blah.”

Guess what? That is simply not true. And there are so, so many examples to back that up.

Because you know what the actual facts – the numbers – say?

They say that the Ice Bucket Challenged has raised $2.3 million for ALS $10 million for ALS $22.9 million for ALS $31.5 million for ALS $41 million for ALS $53 million for ALS $62,5 million for ALS $70.2 million for ALS $88,5 million for ALS. Not to mention the insane amount of press and attention. Yes, that is what is known as awareness. And yes, that has value.

They say that #Nomakeupselfie raised £8 million for Cancer Research UK, funding an extra TEN clinical trials!

They say that the Cold Water Challenge raised 3.5 million Norwegian Kroner for the Norwegian Cancer Society. Just by people jumping into cold water and posting about in in social media.

They say that on JustGiving, a person take “some sort of social action (i.e. share) are 4 times more likely to donate“.

They say that a share of a fundraising event on eventbrite is worth $12 more in ticket sales.

They say that making people share more, increased donations given on social giving platform JustGiving, with more than £150.000 in ONE month.

They say that the so-called “slacktivists” (i.e. people who post about social action in social media) are:

  • As likely as non-social media promoters to donate
  • Twice as likely to volunteer their time
  • Twice as likely to take part in events like charity walks
  • More than twice as likely to buy products or services from companies that supported the cause
  • Three times as likely to solicit donations on behalf of their cause
  • More than four times as likely to encourage others to sign a petition or contact political representatives.

I hereby forbid any and all use of the term from here on out (permissions to use term granted to people who dislike it as strongly as I do and want to use the word only to destroy it).

Sharing is caring. Case closed. Rant over.

12 thoughts on “I hate the term Slacktivism.

    • Great post Paul! Especially the point about “slacktivism” being the first new rung on the ladder!

      Except what we’re actually seeing now, is that people are actually doing BOTH the social action AND donating at the same time. There have been so many examples this year alone (Nomakeupselfie, Cold Water Challenge, Ice Bucket Challenge), that you’d think the pundits could see beyond their need to have people give from a “nobler” reason. But no. So, rant needed 😉

    • Haha! I guess you’re right 😀 But don’t forget, I also tweet about it 😉

      In all seriousness: As long as it’s an action expressing a care about something, why should that be less worth than writing an article in the newspaper? Why is gathering 1000 people online less worth than gathering 1000 people offline? Why is raising money because of a trend less worth than raising money for any other reason?

  1. Pingback: ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ raises millions for ALS | PR Examples

  2. Reblogged this on greenotype and commented:
    Couldn’t agree more Beate! Many people would love to have time to do more, but it’s not always possible to be as time-dedicated as others. Social media activity, e-petitions etc. clearly ARE effective in so many ways, in the same way as commercial sanctions can be (i.e. consumers voting with your feet). Thank you!

  3. Hmmm I don’t like the term, and I don’t like the term click’tivism either, but what concerns me is not the conversions of clicks or slacks into donations, but the role of offline activism and/or mobilising / organising in exercising power or creating change..

    As organisations chase the ‘entry level activists’ through elegant online petitions and engaging share options, they get access to new data which easily transforms itself into fundraising leads. Which is clearly a good thing.

    But if the price of elegant and engaging online content is that organisations cut resources from offline capacity building, then a bit of a rethink is in order. It may be true that ‘slacktivists’ are twice as likely to volunteer, but if the option isn’t available to them, then the only manifestation of their engagement is to donate. The organisations become better funded think tanks, but lose the grassroots organising that made them what they were.

    And the movement is weaker beacuse of it.

  4. Pingback: Stop hating on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, you bitter people. | Beate thinks out loud

  5. Hi Beate! I thought this was a great and really timely post, thanks for sharing 🙂 I absolutely agree that clicking ‘like’ or ‘share’ is important in raising awareness. And if that translates into action I certainly don’t see a problem with it. However, in many instances that hasn’t been the case. One million people registered their discontent for the “Save Darfur” Facebook cause but 99.76% never donated money. Egypt’s Youth Movement and KONY2012 both gained quite a notable following and certainly attracted a lot of awareness but failed to see results. Does awareness have value? Absolutely. But only when it results in or increases the probability of getting people actively involved and taking action like with the example of the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money for ALS. Would love to hear your thoughts on this 🙂


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