photo credit: rahego on flickr
Slacktivism (slacker + activism) is a topic we’ve discussed before in our community. Wikipedia tells us, “The word [Slacktivist] is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.” Another version of it is called “clicktivism.” But, hey now, we are real activists and we click things! (And that word doesn’t even work because it doesn’t rhyme!)
___Alright, take out your pencils, we’ve got a thin line to draw. What’s the difference between slacktivism and effective awareness efforts? Is there one? Isn’t awareness, in any form, a step forward? Poise your pencil, we’ve got some analyzing to do.
___Firstly, awareness efforts encompass a whole range of actual activities. “Awareness,” itself, is vague:
a·ware [uh-wair] 1) having knowledge; conscious; cognizant. 2) informed; alert knowledgeable; sophisticated.
___I think we’d all agree the second definition is more what we’re talking about here. But awareness-needs vary from condition to condition. Some health communities would be hard-pressed to find one person who doesn’t know what said condition is (*cough* pink *cough*) while other conditions are scarcely mentioned and others, still, extremely rare. Of course, no matter where a particular condition falls on the Awareness Spectrum – the personal experiences, the pain, the financial burden, the cumbersome treatment, the heartbreak, and the mourning of life before and reestablished of life after (or during) – are rarely the parts being broadcast. Because, no matter if you’ve disclosed to everyone in the world about what you live with – your health experiences are so personal they are practically rendered unknowable to those outside your community. But being aware doesn’t mean being an expert – to me, it means being moved to compassion through gained insight and facts.
___Maybe you’ve re-adjusted the awareness bar – happy to educate just one more person about your condition. Maybe you’ve re-adjusted to think BIG – hey, if football players can wear pink – maybe they can wear other colors too. Maybe the line we’re about to draw is a personal one – not a universal one. What do YOU consider an awesome awareness effort and what do you consider Slacktivism?
(Read on for a bird-mention, an 80s television reference, and my 6 things to remember about awareness efforts)