I’ve seen this word thrown around the Internet quite a bit lately. “Slacktivist” – it is meant to describe those of us who post political or social commentary on our Facebook pages, but tend to not leave our homes and carry signs, yell at people in person, and get arrested for our cause.
It is meant as an insult I think, but I have decided to embrace it simply because it only comes from people who seem to not really care about anything at all, and find fault in those who do, no matter how they choose to do it. So if my activism via the Internet (our most powerful communication tool ever created) is a Slacktivist approach then that is what I am, and I am proud to share my voice in any way possible to make this country a better place for everyone.
According to the Merriam-Webster definition:
ac·tiv·ist[ak-tuh-vist]noun1. an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political cause.adjective
Now I have never considered myself an activist until very recently. It has taken me quite some time to find my voice and not be afraid to share it. I believe activism starts at home. For us gays, that is usually just the act of “coming out” to friends and family. For me it started quietly, sharing my life one person at a time – either in my church as a teen, or as a Soldier in the Army. For a good majority of my life I was too afraid to speak up about politics, LGBT issues, or you know, anything that I felt passionate about. I managed to put myself in situations where silence was best. Maybe it was my own fear of myself, my own roadblocks to creating my own happiness to “conform” to what my church or my job said I should be. I mean, I had an active part in remaining silent my entire life, and I felt I had a really good reason to do so. I wanted God to love me, I wanted to be a good Soldier. Even when I realized that my sexuality had nothing to do with God’s love or my job – I still remained silent because, “Why rock the boat?” I didn’t want to offend people. Now – that approach I think is slacktivism. I WANTED to say something – but I didn’t. I wanted to talk to people and advocate my cause – but I didn’t.
You don’t have to streak the White House in order to be an activist for a cause. You don’t have to camp out on Wall Street, or picket funerals, and you certainly don’t need to get arrested. Activism, by definition is, “an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political cause.” So by definition, me blowing up your Facebook page with information IS a form of activism. Writing a blog about marriage equality and taking the time to answer everyone IS activism. Had I gone to the steps of the Supreme Court instead of writing out my story, I would have had ZERO impact. Instead – over 1500 people have read that article (and counting, more people read it EVERYDAY). So I would say that my form of activism is MUCH more effective at this point.
So call me a Slacktivist – try to to shame my voice back into silence if that is what makes you feel better. Much like any other derogatory term, I am going to take its power from you and use it to strengthen my voice. I am going to share this word for everyone who sits at their keyboard and tries to make some sort of impact even if it is in the comfort of their home while they sit in pajamas. It really doesn’t matter HOW you make your voice heard (or which side you are on) it only matters that you actually USE that voice – even if it is by means of a keyboard instead of a naked demonstration.
I am going to start my own campaign for us Slacktivist’s. I will call it “Slacktivist Day”, and I have decided on May 1st, 2013 for the first annual “Slacktivist” movement. Here are the rules. On May 1st, 2013 I want you all to find whatever cause is important to you. Politics? Animals? Marriage Equality? Guns? Religion? Whatever it is, no matter what side you stand on blow up your social media accounts with only information about that cause. Want people to love Jesus? Spend your day posting why you love Jesus and think others should love Him too. Post personal stories about how Jesus changed your life. Post facts and research related to Jesus. Hate Jesus? Post why. Post about why you think Jesus isn’t what people think He is. Post about why are are an Atheist. Post about why you love unicorns! It doesn’t have to be political. Just have one day where you aren’t afraid to share your voice. Have one day where all that matters is what is important to you.
I picked May 1st because it is May Day – Mayday is also a distress call. It is a way to say, “I need help! I need my voice heard or I might sink!” Mayday is a call from someone urging someone else to hear them and do something. I realize I haven’t given you much time to jump on-board, but if Facebook can go Red for marriage equality in just a few hours, I think we can get a few people to participate in Slacktivist Day. Steal the graphic from this post to spread the word if you want to participate. I will also be posting it on my Facebook pages: Sophist Six on Facebook and the Tolerant People page.
UPDATE: I also created a “Slacktivist Movement” page on Facebook! Go like and share it! It will be fun! It will be informative and entertaining! What more could you possibly need?!