Slacktivism . . . Do You Know What It Is?

Slacktivism . . . Do You Know What It Is?

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.


Slacktivism: Liking isn't helping campaign illustrating that a Facebook "Like" doesn't help those suffering.


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?


Slacktivism: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - Logan takes the plunge


Slacktivism: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge - band kids take the plunge after the band carwash. Don't worry, it's clean water!


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.


Slacktivism: Material for a new pillowcase dress - kick it into gear, Becky!


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?





Written by Becky


  • Mark Orr says:

    I just got back from spending 4 days in the Appalachian Mountains in KY. We went with a group of about 30 adults and “young” adults from our church. The program is sponsored by ASP (Appalachian Service Project) We went into the poorest areas of the mountains, (called hollows), and did work on houses in order to make them WARMER, SAFER, DRYER. If anyone googles this area you can see just how poor they really are. A lot of the homes do not even heat!!!

    We all have different talents to help people in different ways. When we walked away, we all had that warm fuzzy feeling that you just made someones life better.

    • Becky says:

      Mark, what a wonderful message to wake up to this chilly morning! You’re walking the talk, my friend. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and when you go on another similar mission, let us know so we can contribute some goods or money to help your cause.

      • Mark Orr says:

        We go every year the weekend after Columbus Day. You are always welcome to join us. You need no experience, just the willingness to step up and pitch in. Next year, I and another friend are in charge, and we would like to double the number 27!!! We have older people, younger people and middle age people. It is a real eye opener, especially for young people to get out of there “comfort zone” We have a lot 8th graders who go along looking for service hours…… You could bring Spence. Will keep you posted. You can google and get a preview of things we do.

  • Patty from MMC says:

    I fit the category as well. One year I made 1600 baby hats and donated them to local hospitals. Now, many hospitals in NE no longer accept them. Have started making cat rugs for the humane society. I donated to Ice Bucket rather than “dumping”. But there so much more I could do. My daughter Robyn is the epitome of a true donator – makes hats and donates to underprivileged schools, veterans, and hospice. She also donates part of her commission as a Younique makeup presenter to Clean Water – oh, to be more like her!! (Tried posting this once before, but it didn’t take.)

    • Becky says:

      Wow, Patty, it sounds like you’ve really spent a lot of time giving back. That’s excellent! And what your daughter does sounds wonderful as well. Good for her! She had a great role model to follow!

  • Tomas says:

    We should all do more. Great post.

  • Hi Becky:

    Interesting word – slacktivism. How about this phrase – blatant mopery.
    This condition describes people who act in a way that is completely
    ridiculous. What I mean is they drive in a way that makes no sense
    at all, even though they want to be considered as adults. Examples are::

    tailgating someone at 80 miles per hour
    leaving a turn signal on indefinitely
    road rage
    cutting other drivers off
    putting on makeup while driving

    Maybe a better word for the above would be “carazy behavior”

    Anyway, good article

    • Becky says:

      Ha! No, I’ve never heard of “blatant mopery”, but I love it! And I love “carazy” too.

      After only a few minutes in the car when we’re destined somewhere far away, Logan dozes off, displaying a classic case of “carcolepsy.” Or, when I’m typing a post and make repeated errors, I’m “unkeyboardinated.” Or, finally, when you’re out to dinner with someone and they’re continually texting on their cellphone, they’re “cellfish” and may also be suffering from “textpectation” if they keep glancing at their phone waiting for a reply to their text.

  • Mary Lou Sandvik says:

    Not only do I own a Slacktivism card, I am a lifetime member of that society and hold the shameful post of President!! Sure I contribute green stuff to various causes but lift a finger? No way. I, like so many others, am TOO BUSY! If I had a sewing machine, if I had more time, if I had a more generous spirit, if I hadn’t already been there, done that in my younger life, I would be voted out of my presidential position and replaced by someone even lazier than me! Boy, Becky, you sure make a good point, and I resolve to do something about helping somewhere. And, I’m anxious to see all the creative and gorgeous dresses you put together. Have at it, my generous daughter! Your loving mom

    • Becky says:

      Excellent, Mom! You can start your new commitment by bringing me some pillowcases to sew into dresses! 😉

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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