It’s easy to be cynical about online activism. It’s often subject to ugly portmanteau dismissals of ‘slacktivism’ or ‘clicktivism’, or written off as virtue signalling by people who only pretend to care. And sure, social media hashtags and petitions might sometimes be a substitute for more meaningful actions, making people feel like they’ve done something useful when they haven’t. Some people might be using hashtags with one eye on social change, and one on curating their self-image.
But that doesn’t mean that all online activism is a waste of time. Far from it. There is a rising number of successful campaigns that proves that it can work, and a growing body of research into how it can effect change.
Here’s a useful summary video from Greenpeace UK, on the effectiveness of online action, how it can spread ideas and serve as a gateway into other forms of activism.