The argument that social media fosters feel-good clicking rather than actual change, began long before Malcolm Gladwell brought it up in the New Yorker — long enough to generate its own derogatory term. “Slacktivism,” as defined by Urban Dictionary, is “the act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem.”
If you only measure donations, social media is no champion. The national chapter of the Red Cross, for instance, has 208,500 “likes” on Facebook, more than 200,000 followers on Twitter, and a thriving blog. But according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, online donations accounted for just 3.6% of private donations made to the organization in 2009.
All of that virtual liking, following, joining, signing, forwarding, and, yes, clicking, has a lot of potential to grow into big change. Here’s why:
Phi Beta Iota: Complementary observations are made by Steven Denning in his featured post, Reference: The Revolution IS Being Tweeted.