Closing Remarks

The purpose of this blog was to research and give supporting evidence to show the negative impacts of clicktivism and how you can go beyond clicktivism. As technology continues to advance, more and more people are resorting to online platforms to showcase their support. Clicktivism is only becoming more prevalent due to more accessible online resources for citizens. We made an effort to represent information from both supporters and opposers of clicktivism through our blog posts. The equal distribution through affirmative and refutation posts allowed us to create a stronger argument and clearly identify the weaknesses, strengths, and limitations in clicktivism.

Our own experience and research allowed us to obtain a foundational understanding of clicktivism and its limits. We decided to blog about various clicktivist campaigns as case studies to analyze clicktivism. We looked at #standingrock, #kony2012, #bringourgirlsback, and #cancelcolbert. We also gathered research from various news sources and research articles that show the drawbacks of clicktivism.

The most surprising thing our research showed us was that most of the opinions we analyzed had fundamental roots that believed clicktivism was useful to help spread awareness. We agree with this claim, however, we don’t believe that this should be the end of an individual’s support and that spreading awareness can not make a real change. Whether you are for or against clicktivism, both sides can agree that it ultimately helps easily spread awareness. It just depends on whether you believe that is sufficient support as activism.

The largest take away from this assignment was that real change comes from real actions. Clicktivism creates a form of self contentment and illusion that you are doing good by liking, sharing, etc., which makes people stop there.

Ultimately, clicktivism is the bare minimum for activists. The argument our blog was not for clicktivism to stop altogether, the argument was for clicktivism to merely be the starting point. Throughout history, we have seen real change occur through protests, marches, volunteering in communities, etc., not through a shared Facebook video. Clicktivism can support all those real-life actions and works as an effective way to spread the word, but it can not replace the role of those actions.

Ultimately, this blog was very educational for all of us. It put into perspective what we can do to show greater support because we too can fall victims to clicktivism. We learned that to make a real change in the world you must go beyond a click and be willing to physically go out to volunteer. We hope we were able to educate people on clicktivism and how to be a better global citizen.

Thank you for joining our group through this experience and taking the time to read about our thoughts. Now it’s time for you to make a change and go beyond clicktivism, what will you do next?

Lack of Leadership and Tangible Change: An Affirmative View

The #Kony2012 campaign was released by Invisible Children in early March of 2012. #Kony2012 was a strategically thought out operation using various forms of promotions and persuasive actions. The campaign used a combination of many visuals such as images, logos, text, and videos in attempt to rewrite present-day strategies for engendering activism through social media, also known as, clicktivism. This post looks at two different articles that support our claim that clicktivism is only the beginning and more needs to be done for real change to occur.

While there were cons of #Kony2012, there were some pros that highlighted the initial benefits clicktivism can have on a campaign. An article on nj.com, “Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign has pros, but also cons” by Carly Rothman, discusses some of these pros. Rothman went into detail about the key goals of KONY2012 being that it was an operation to put pressure on the American government to keep a small U.S. military presence on the ground Uganda to advise local leaders. The campaign was centered on a social media strategy built upon a viral video “that lays out the programs roots and visions”. This is a prime example exemplifying the benefits that social networking can bring to a situation. Within days of this video being launched it received nearly ten million views and celebrity endorsements from people like Justin Bieber and Oprah. The #Kony2012 campaign successfully showed the potential benefits clicktivism can have on an issue. The positive of all of this is the simple fact that spreading ideas is a good way to initiate the conversation of change but not necessarily create a tangible change itself.

Cons that have been made up over #Kony2012 include their corporate structure, their investment in the Ugandan army and their sanguinary mission to bring Joseph Kony to justice. #Kony2012’s investment in the Ugandan army was very troublesome. The accounts that they made that took over YouTube and Twitter were very troublesome as well. They created a culture of looting, exploitation and rape occurring on the frontlines of the army’s activities, both in their expeditionary work in the Central African Republic and their supposed protective work of the internally displaced refugee camps in Northern Uganda (Currie). This was discussed in an article on uniter.ca titled, “The Pros and Cons of KONY 2012” by Steve Currie in 2012. The issue in organizational structure this article discussed tends to be the demise of many clicktivism campaigns. There is no hierarchy of power in the social media world which is one major reason these campaigns don’t lead into tangible change in the world. The lack of hierarchical power prevents tangible change because there is no clear organization and relentless push for change. The combination of these two articles depicted how social media can create a rise in awareness of an issue but struggle to do anything of it rather accurately. It is possible that in the future of clicktivism we will see a rise in leadership or figure heads attached to these campaigns for it to begin supporting real activism.

“Beyond Clicktivism: Why Political Change Requires Risk”

A CreativeTimesReports addresses the required risk for political change to occur and the setbacks from simple clicktivism. The Yes Men support our belief that clicktivism helps support spread a message a content but actual change requires real, physical risks. Read more here: http://creativetimereports.org/2015/06/12/acting-up-in-meatspace-limits-of-clicktivism/.

“Social Media Made the World Care About Standing Rock”, but was that it?: A Refutation

In today’s modern world our daily lives are constantly surrounded by differing social media platforms. It is easy for someone to create the illusion of being involved with rising movements such as the Standing Rock protest that occurred recently in North Dakota. While it is true that there are power in numbers we cannot say the same if those numbers are hidden behind a computer screen hundreds of miles from the heart of the issue.

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An article on wired.com written by Emily Dreyfuss discusses both the successes and failures the world has seen throughout the Standing Rock protest. This article creates a framework arguing that the #hashtags and clicktivsm campaign was just as important, if not more important, than the physical protesters who camped out in the freezing temperatures of North Dakota. As we know, thousands camped out and marched to the reservation in order to deny the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The article also argued that protesters, “knew what could and would happen if the world stopped watching, and the world did” which was the ultimate demise of this protest.

The juxtaposed paragraph following the claim about the importance of the social eye on the Standing Rock protest began with “Today, President Trump signed an executive memo aimed at allowing the Dakota Access Company to finish the last bit of pipeline.”  This structure credits the protest failures to the lack of clicktivism towards the end of this long struggle. I disagree with what this article is arguing because it is simply an illogical argument that discredits the thousands of protesters who stayed put in their snow-covered tents with minimal food and water in North Dakota.

There is no question that social media and clicktivism made the world care more about Standing Rock and this fight. By November 1, over 1 million facebook users had “checked-in” to Standing Rock. These social platform allows for acts of solidarity in protest around the world that has not been available throughout this nation’s history.  However I believe we cannot get confused with the hierarchy of importance when it comes to protest. Clicktivism is becoming an important aspect of modern day protest but it would be nothing if it weren’t for those willing to be present, shedding blood, sweat and tears to fight for what they believe in.