The Washington University student newspaper did an interview with me about digital activism in light of the Kony 2012 affair. Here are a few excerpts from the article, “Exploring the effects of ‘Slacktivism’”:
While Kony 2012 has been deemed one of the most viral videos of all time, its real-world contributions have been somewhat unclear.
“Realistically, there is little you and I can do. It is unfortunate, but it is just the reality of it,” Kendzior said. “People feel frustrated. They want to help, so they look for ways to help, and then there is this video saying, ‘Here it is. You like it. You share it.’ It satisfies people’s urgency, but we should be more creative in how to use the Internet to engage with people in these regions instead of engaging with them by speaking for them.” […]
While Kendzior is skeptical about the effectiveness of certain types of “slacktivism,” she believes that social media can have positive contributions.
“It could be that the Kony video can introduce people to the cause,” Kendzior said. “Hopefully, people become more educated and read more about it. The more people who do know about something, the likelier it is that someone will be creative and come up with a solution or at least a new way to help and understand the issue. When it’s successful, people stop calling it ‘slacktivsim.’ They start calling it activism.”
Read the whole article here. I was really impressed with the smart questions asked by reporter Joanna Yoon. Thanks Student Life!
Update: A couple of small corrections to the article – I’m not a graduate student, but as of last week, an officially finished PhD. Also I did not coin the term ‘slacktivism’. It’s been around for awhile and no one is sure where it originated.