Clicking a link/signing an online petition is not nearly enough (goes the argument) — and worse than that, doing these things gives people a false sense of achievement. Having re-tweeted some punchy hashtag (the argument continues), people think they’ve “helped,” and move on to their reality-TV-watching, double-cheeseburger-eating lives, now freed of any sense that they might need to do anything truly useful.
Inevitably, any social campaign that goes viral leads to a great deal of such handwringing — as one headline recently put it: “Is ‘clicktivism’ destroying meaningful social activism?”
But the question is far from new: I recall the wrath of an old friend when I had the temerity to suggest many years ago that folks could help raise funds for hunger relief via The Hunger Site (where I still click, by the way, on a nearly daily basis, along with all the other clickable causes that GreaterGood Network now supports).
Here’s what I don’t understand about the question, though: What world do these people live in? Or, alternatively: What past are they remembering? Did they once live in a world peopled with passionate social activists burning with a sense of mission, ready to chuck it all, or at least the occasional evening, for the sake of repairing the world?