Traditional Activism vs. Hashtag Activism | Part Three

We are all Twitter activists to one degree or another because we are all activating for something when we send a tweet, even if that activism is simply about how much you love a certain sports team or hate a professor at a university. 

But activism also occurs on a much grander and more intentional scale than these simple examples. Many people are lifetime activists who promote ideals they believe in or policies they support or want enacted. The internet is one of their most popular tools for activism. Why? Because it is relatively simple and you can reach a lot of people far faster than older forms of communication.

As discussed in the previous Hashtag Activism posts, if you want to enact lasting change anywhere from your community to the world, this form of activism may not be the way to go as it promotes supporters who aren’t engaged or passionate about the particular issue you care about. That isn’t to say that all Hashtag Activism is bad. In fact, there are quite a few benefits when you use social media to further your cause. 

If you are considering using social media in your advocacy consider these practical tips before you start to help you avoid slacktivism in your advocacy.

  1. Keep it Simple
    1. Make the campaign action easy to do, but be clear about why people are doing it. Are they using a hashtag, a filter, signing a virtual petition or something else? Articulate what you want people to do to help raise awareness for your issue. Multiple steps are a quick and easy way to confuse people and send your advocacy campaign into chaos. 
  2. Connect to Action
    1. Connect with real life campaigns. Provide resources for people who want to do more, whether it’s through a donation, a petition or a protest. This allows people who are actually interested in and invested in your campaign to get involved in a more traditional way outside of the realm of social media. 
  3. Be humble
    1. Sharing a post is not the same as participating in a march. Be proud of your support, but be proud of the work others are doing, too. Not all advocacy campaigns gain the following nor the popularity of hashtags such as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge but that’s okay. 

Social media can be a great tool, especially for advocacy. Just make sure you are using it effectively to further your cause and not encouraging Hashtag activism or slacktivism among your audience.