There’s a word for slacker and activism: slacktivism.
But is there a word for slacktivist and activism?
Facebook, the very social media platform largely credited with the rise and spread of slacktivism, is taking measures to try and redefine what online activism can do. Just a few days ago, Facebook proved how well it could influence its users with the “I Voted” button, which had previously helped increase voter participation by three percent, reports RT.com. Facebook decided to expand this influence to help combat the rapidly spreading Ebola virus.
With a graphic of the iconic Facebook hand extending a heart, Facebook is appending a “Donate Now” button to the top of users’ newsfeeds, with the title, “[Name], You Can Help Stop Ebola.” The donate button allows users to then choose from three different charities to contribute to.
Screenshot of US Embassy Ghana Twitter post.
BBC News reports that Mark Zuckerberg himself promoted the button by publically announcing on his Facebook wall that he hopes Facebook “does its part” helping combat Ebola. Despite Zuckerberg’s claims, however, the button has met with criticism from those who believe this is just a marketing ploy. Zuckerberg once again personally responded, reminding critics that he personally donated $25 million towards the cause.
In fact, most contributions towards Ebola have come from personal philanthropy, similar to Zuckerberg’s contribution, rather than widespread donations. As a result, Ebola donations have lagged behind those of most previous natural disaster campaigns, reports BBC News.
Facebook appears to be trying to combat this problem by making it easier for everyone to donate. With the donate button pinned to the top of users’ newsfeeds, donating to the cause is just as easy as, if not easier than, participating in most slacktivist efforts. What’s more, BBC News reported that Facebook is working on handling mobile payments, and may integrate their developing payment methods to make the donations even easier, while helping the company further trial and develop the payment platform.
Regardless of whether or not Facebook is really using this as a marketing scheme or as a way to test their payment system, the positive impact of such actions cannot be ignored. With Facebook’s new initiatives, we are able to donate to charities proven to help combat the spread of Ebola without leaving our beds. It is evident that Facebook is incorporating the principles and convenience of slacktivism with the impacts and scalability of true activism. By continuing to leverage the powers and influence of social media, Facebook may be able to redefine slacktivism altogether.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Keri J.