Slacktivism . . . Do You Know What It Is?
Have you heard of the word “slacktivism”?
It’s a portmanteau: a word that combines parts of two other words like “motel”, which is a combination of “motor” and “hotel”, or “smog”, which is a combination of “smoke” and “fog” or “destinesia”, which is a combination of “destination” and “amnesia”, and describes when you get to where you were going, but once there, forgot why you headed there in the first place. (A condition I suffer from almost every time I enter my pantry.)
“Slacktivism” is a combination of “slacker” and “activism”, and is defined as “feel-good measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little physical or practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfied that they have contributed.”
Are you a Facebook user? Do ever you recall hitting “Like” on a post that was backing a good cause and feeling supportive? That’s slacktivism, baby. We’re almost all guilty of it from time to time, but this photo and the entire “Liking isn’t helping.” campaign for Crisis Relief shows what little good a Facebook “Like” does.
Did you participate in the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge last summer?
It was all the rage. Folks far and wide were hefting buckets of ice-cold water over their heads and then screaming, laughing, and shaking themselves off like Lassie after dog paddling around the swimming hole.
But, think back a minute. Do you remember what the whole ice bucket movement was about? Who benefitted from it? Did you donate money, or just take the cold shower and the video?
In case you’ve forgotten, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a fundraiser for ALS, a.k.a. Lou Gherrig’s Disease, and was actually extremely successful, raising over $100,000,000 for the cause. If you participated but didn’t donate money, I’m sorry to say that you, my friend, were a slacktivist, along with about a million other soaking wet people.
I published a post in February on the wonderful work my friend, Kerry Hughes, is doing with her not-for-profit company, Harmony 4 Hope (H4H). H4H’s main purpose is to create rare disease awareness, lift up the spirits of children who are suffering from rare diseases, and raise money to support rare disease research. The post itself was shared by people who felt like they were doing their part 173 times on Facebook, which is monumental from a “raising awareness” standpoint. The charity itself received only a few dollars from my post, which is dismal from a much-needed funding standpoint. And that, peeps, is classic slacktivism.
Confession: I’ve been a card-carrying slacktivist lately.
The card is weighing heavily in my wallet and on my conscience, and I’d really rather not have to carry it. While I’m part of a lovely group of women that sews pillowcase dresses for girls in need, I’ve been much more productive at slacking than sewing as of late. I’ve let every other thing in my life take center stage from boys to birthdays to blogs, and it’s time I stop allowing that to happen.
We get so caught up in our own lives, our own perceived needs and wants and desires, and start believing that “there’s just no time left to help” those who truly need our help. But really, there’s always time. We just have to prioritize helping our fellow-man, or girl, in my case, over other things.
There’s a happy medium to be found.
There always is.
Summer is here. The kids are off of school. There isn’t the same crazy level of activities as during the year, so I’m going to get cracking because, in the words of Payton Manning, “Delivering help trumps offering hope any day of the week.”
I’m hauling my sewing machine and all of my supplies out of the closet and back onto the dining room table.
I bought this material way back when. It, along with some trimmings, should make a darling dress. Let’s see what I can come up with.
My goal is to sew a dress a week for a little girl somewhere whose only clothing right now might be a ripped tee-shirt. I’m pretty sure that, whoever she is, wherever she is, she deserves an hour or two of my time. And to hold myself to it, I’m going to publish a photo of the dresses here each week from now until mid August. (If you’re interested in doing the same, click here for the pillowcase dress pattern.)
And then, after I reach my goal, I’m going to joyfully tear my slacktivism card to bits and toss it up in the air like confetti.
How about you?
Do you own a slacktivism card too?