Does It Help The Cause?

The Millennial Slacktivism Debate: A Political Perspective

There are many different ways to help a cause.  Is liking or sharing one of them?  Does simply liking or sharing an article, event, or tweet with a certain hashtag help a foundation, cause, or epidemic?

There are people that would disagree and state that by only liking and sharing you are actually doing nothing to help the organizing.   In the article Take the “No Ice Bucket” Challenge, Will Oremus talks about how displeased he was with the ice bucket challenge for ALS.  For example, “As for “raising awareness,” few of the videos I’ve seen contain any substantive information about the disease… the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt”.  He thinks that most people were really just posting videos to look good for their friends.  To make people think that they are contributing to the cause.  In reality the majority of video posters did not pay anything towards the cause.  Now even though the majority of the people didn’t contribute money, does that necessary mean they didn’t contribute at all?  People think that they are doing something positive by using very little effort as stated in Does Slacktivism Work?, “These activities pose a minimal cost to participants; one click on Facebook or retweet on Twitter and the slacktivist can feel that he or she has helped to support the cause.”   I believe that these videos did raise awareness, maybe not to everyone that posted them, but surely to more people than if the videos didn’t exist.  In that same article, “ALS Association told Fox Boston that it has raised $1.35 million in the past two weeks. It raised just $22,000 in the same period last year.”  This is a enormous increase in funds and certainly would not have been possible without the videos.

Also in the chapter about Avatars, Jenkins he talks about “slactivism”, “that the small investments in time and effort required to pass along such messages”.  These people are given a bad rep by the name “slactivism”, it is imposing that these people don’t really do much.  Yet I think they should receive more credit.  By doing something so simple as liking or sharing, they can spread the the word faster than ever.

What is your take on this? Do you think by posting a simple share or liking a post will help raise awareness?


What Do You Share?

So in the last week we have been talking about what makes something shareable or go viral.  Each article or reading has hinted at different things that contribute to some sort of media making headlines and being the next big thing.  In the introduction about Spreadable Media, the authors Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford and Joshua Green talk mainly about three different types of sharing, Stickiness, Spreadability, and Viral.  Were most of the sharing is done with Spreadability and Viral.  Next Maria Konnikova discusses 6 points that many big stories consist of in her article The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, And Maybe Infuriate, You.  Those 6 points are emotion, arousal, social currency, memory inducing, practical value, and quality of story.  These points must be pretty accurate because I found,

” Jonah gives the high-level of each principle, which is called the STEPPS framework. These 6 principles drive people to talk and share.”

  1. Social currency
  2. Triggers
  3. Emotion
  4. Public
  5. Practical value
  6. Stories

in Social Media Examiner.

Now we already discussed these topics in class, but if you truly think about it and go through your postings, it is surprising to see the stuff you Retweet or share usually consist of multiple of these points.  Also, in Konnikova article, she says that, “If an article made readers extremely angry or highly anxious—stories about a political scandal or new risk factor for cancer, for example—they became just as likely to share it as they would a feel-good story about a cuddly panda.”  Now I can see how this is possible in today’s society, because,” Some men just want to watch the world burn” (The Dark Night).  Though, what I really want to know is, what do you share?  

I personally enjoy sharing media that excites me, or really motivates me.  I think by sharing these types of articles or videos to others, it will in turn excite and motivate the people close to you.  One video that really shocked, surprised, amazed, and totally inspired me was Ross Capicchinoni video. Before you watch the video realize that it may make you cry and may be hard to watch.  To me at least it is videos like this that really touch and move the viewer.  Another video that really motivated and inspired me was How Bad Do You Want It?.  I think the reason that I share these kinds of videos is because I want others to feel the same excitement, inspiration, motivation, and desire that I felt when I watched it.  I want others to get that same experience I had when I watched the video.  That is why I share. What’s your reason?