Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lazy Activism: The Next Problem

With each year, new generations of children are being born, new ideals are being created, and society itself is shaping to the constraints of changing world. Back in the day, when people found a problem with something, they went went outside and protested their hearts out. Today, when people find a problem with something, they either push it aside as something they have no control over or try to support the cause with in the easiest manner possible.

Hitler invaded Poland? Better update my Facebook.

Facebook groups such as "SUPPORT THE VICTIMS OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI" is a perfect example of "Lazy Activism". After people saw the news of the horrible earthquake and found a group on facebook "supporting the victims", they'll instantly join the group and leave with a sense of accomplishment. However, if you think about it, what exactly did they do? Did joining the group help rebuild Hati's infrastructure? Did "liking" the cause on facebook pay for the air drops of food and medical supplies for the victims?

So why exactly does the group's name include "support"? Are families that lost their homes, business, friends and family going to see the amount of likes and feel psychologically supported? If you ask me, a hundred dollars to rebuild my home is a lot more helpful than giving me a pat on the back.

Sorry about running your dog over. It's not like I could have done anything.

The problem with Lazy Activism is that it doesn't really help anyone, but it puts the person that wants to help at ease. They'll feel less "bad" about the effected group and will have less chance of doing things that will actually help. An example of this is a evil dictator planning to take over the world. Instead of protesting or encouraging the government to take action, we simply sign a online petition opposing the dictator and move on with our lives.

The result of Lazy Activism is fewer participants in actual effective protest, and more people posting twitter comments complaining about their new dictatorship government. The fact is this, if you want to help, actually help. Hosni Mubarak didn't step down from office due to a couple strongly worded facebook groups.