“Checking in at Standing Rock on Facebook isn’t helpful”: An Affirmative View

October 31, 2016 there was a mass number of Facebook check-ins to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. However, the majority of those who checked in were not physically present. This action was done in the hopes of throwing off law enforcement tracking individuals’ locations based off of social media. Despite the awareness the check-ins spread, the clicktivism action was not truly helpful or enough.

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A Mic article believes, “clicking a few buttons on Facebook just isn’t enough to make an impact”. The article explains that Standing Rock protesters appreciated the support shown online but there is no direct evidence proving that it was of any help. Additionally, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department stated that it does not follow Facebook check-ins which undermines the initial intended purpose.

Clicktivism is an easy way for individuals who may not be able to be physically present due to distance and time barriers to be virtually present. The act shows solidarity from those who checked-in to Standing Rock but it ends there.

If someone is not near North Dakota, they can be a more active participant after learning about the protest through clicktivism by donating to the cause and signing a petition without having to travel great distances.

The article shares an email from Sacred Stone Camp that asserts the “Facebook Check In” did not originate from them and lists various ways they hope to encourage people to take physical action. Some of the suggestions are, but not limited to: demanding banks to divest, police enforcement to withdraw, construction to halt, connecting with indigenous and environmental struggles in your own bioregion, and investigating personal relationships to fossil fuel consumption. These suggestions ultimately make a bigger impact on the reservation.

Immediately the day after the initial check-ins, November 1, more than 1 million people “checked in” to Standing Rock. It is important to not undermine the benefit that the Facebook Check-In was for Sacred Stone Camp in order to have a greater voice and spread of information within the public. Clicktivism created a greater platform to spread the message but it must not stop there. The goal is not to spread awareness but to elicit change and stop construction on the reservation.