The PokéCommunity Forums Blogs twocows
Slacktivism


Rate this Entry

Slacktivism

Posted November 17th, 2015 at 9:59 AM by twocows

Cross-posted from Facebook; this comes directly from a post I made on FB (it's not publicly visible or I'd just link to it).
Quote:
For anyone who is interested, here is my latest take on the newest "slacktivism" fad, e.g. putting French colors on your profile picture.

I don't particularly mind that people want to show their support for the victims and their families or for the French people. I won't, for reasons I'll explain below, but that's just because I see things differently. It doesn't bother me that other people choose to do so.

What I take issue with, and I'm not saying everyone is doing this but some people certainly are, is people acting self-righteous about it, like overlaying the French flag on your profile picture makes you a saint or something. Can you imagine it? Imagine one of these people going to, for instance, a 9/11 memorial and expecting to be treated like a hero because they have a bumper sticker that says "I support the families of 9/11," and then thinking people ungrateful when they aren't treated like the gracious saint they believe themselves to be.

If people want to "show their support" in this way, that's fine, but they shouldn't act like they performed some great service to the French people in doing so. They didn't donate to a fund that assists the victims and their families, they didn't petition the government to lend aid, they didn't fly over there and lend their personal assistance, and they certainly didn't put their lives on the line by joining the military or a PMC or a private security outfit to address the situation more directly. They uploaded their profile pictures to a site that puts some colors on them. And even that probably won't last very long; most people tend to have short attention spans when it comes to tragedies that don't affect them directly.

See, the thing is that slacktivism doesn't actually HELP anyone. France is our ally, they already know we're on their side. Flaunting it doesn't accomplish anything of value. The victims and their families are not looking at Americans with French flags overlaid on their pictures and sighing in relief. They are trying to figure out how to cope with the tragedy that has stricken them and they will be grateful to those who assist them in doing that.

If this incident really troubles you so deeply, then I encourage you to ACT. Look for ways to help the victims and their families or to prevent further such tragedies from happening. Better yet, make a sustaining contribution of some sort; there are probably a lot of families now suddenly without a major income earner and with significant funeral costs to consider. A fund to assist the families of the victims must exist somewhere, and if it doesn't, maybe consider starting your own; every little bit helps. Sustained contributions are extremely important to the victims of tragedies. There was a lot of early aid after the Haitian earthquake, but as frequently happens with tragedy situations, people lost interest a few months on and stopped donating even though most victims were still without shelter or other basic necessities. As a result, many aid groups couldn't afford to continue their services and had to pull out.

So in the end, while I certainly feel bad about the situation, I feel like it would be hypocrisy to flaunt how much I care when I haven't and probably won't do anything to actually help in the aftermath. This isn't something to be ashamed of, we all have our lives to live, but I don't have any right to say I am their ally (let alone flaunt it online to everyone I know) when I haven't actually done anything to help. My sympathy for the French in their time of tragedy is implicit and obvious; of course I sympathize with them. But feeling bad about a situation like this is to be expected, it's not something that is itself worthy of respect or praise. And sympathy doesn't help victims or prevent tragedies. This is why I have chosen not to "show my support" like this in situations like this. If a situation troubles me deeply enough, I will commit myself to helping in some tangible way. None of this "profile picture" stuff.
I guess it just feels cheap. I feel like if I was related to one of the victims and people acted like changing their profile pictures was helping, I'd just be insulted. But maybe that's just me.
Posted inUncategorized
Views 5467 Comments 2
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 2

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Nihilego's Avatar
    I think the thing that bothers me the most about it is how terrorism is now apparently a social media sensation. Maybe it's just because social media is becoming a more major part of our lives and is more integrated into everything we do, but I feel like there's something deeply wrong when, at the first sign of tragedy, people take to their profiles posting trending hashtags and changing their profile pictures. As you say, it's not helping anybody, and the only benefit of it that I see to anybody is that... it makes people feel good about themselves. Based on terrorism. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but that just seems so inherently wrong to me.

    Then further to that you've got the people playing the "what about [x other disaster]???" card. They're doing as little as everyone else, and just starting controversy in the process. If anything that's worse than just following the trend and posting French flags everywhere - it's certainly multiple times more more disrespectful. Earlier today I saw someone change their profile picture to one overlaid by like, 80 different flags, and I just... kinda wondered why. It's like people care more about grabbing some sort of fake moral high-ground than they do about actually fixing whatever it is that they care oh-so-much about.
    Posted November 17th, 2015 at 10:56 AM by Nihilego Nihilego is offline
  2. Old Comment
    twocows's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shenanigans View Comment
    I think the thing that bothers me the most about it is how terrorism is now apparently a social media sensation. Maybe it's just because social media is becoming a more major part of our lives and is more integrated into everything we do, but I feel like there's something deeply wrong when, at the first sign of tragedy, people take to their profiles posting trending hashtags and changing their profile pictures. As you say, it's not helping anybody, and the only benefit of it that I see to anybody is that... it makes people feel good about themselves. Based on terrorism. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but that just seems so inherently wrong to me.

    Then further to that you've got the people playing the "what about [x other disaster]???" card. They're doing as little as everyone else, and just starting controversy in the process. If anything that's worse than just following the trend and posting French flags everywhere - it's certainly multiple times more more disrespectful. Earlier today I saw someone change their profile picture to one overlaid by like, 80 different flags, and I just... kinda wondered why. It's like people care more about grabbing some sort of fake moral high-ground than they do about actually fixing whatever it is that they care oh-so-much about.
    I agree. I tried to avoid the term in my post because it's kind of crass, but the term I like to use to describe this is "intellectual masturbation." I really feel like a lot of people just do this kind of stuff so they can feel good about themselves. They probably do feel bad, too, but not bad enough to actually aid in any tangible way.
    Posted November 17th, 2015 at 11:30 AM by twocows twocows is offline
 

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:06 PM.