It is a term that some people like to use in a derisive fashion.
It is a term that some people like to use as a positive definition.
First, let me state for the record that I was inspired to write this by a Facebook post that concerned an activist group on Facebook, and the subsequent re-posting of items from them with their urging to “click like and repost.” I talked a little bit about why I repost these things, but I didn’t want to clog up someone else’s wall – this dissection belongs in my own space. I’m glad that this person brought up hir feelings, because I welcome the chance to talk about perceptions of Armchair Activism here on my blog. [so thank you! I like posts that inspire conversation!]*
Here’s my take on the situation. Yes, plenty of people think that merely re-posting a link or an article or a photo means that they are Activists Who Do Good Things… then forget all about the re-post and go back to their day and their Words With Friends game. Of course there will always be people like this.
But should that stop someone from sharing something that even momentarily gives them outrage? I don’t think so. Because even in that moment, someone else could be informed by the information passed along. Someone else could be inspired. Someone could be driven to do some research and then offer the resources that zie has available.
Honestly, that’s what I hope for even with my re-posts. I don’t expect to change the minds or hearts of many. In my circle, most of us are already social activists of some sort anyway. But if I can draw attention to something that even one person was unaware of… if I can create one conversation… if I can inspire one session of deep thinking, or even better, motivate one person to go out and create change – then my share was worth the bandwidth.
And another reason for me to share? It keeps MY mind and heart focused on what Needs To Be Done.
I can’t say that I am a spectacular activist. But in the past couple of years – ironically, since Facebook and Twitter have come into my life – I have discovered that I am much more motivated to take action. I write my Congresspeople and Representatives. I speak out when I see wrongdoings happening. I not only give my money to causes, I actively work to get the word out about them. I work for change in whatever fashion is appropriate and achievable AT THAT MOMENT.
I also passively share links and photos. Sometimes, that’s what you can do at that moment. It doesn’t demean the effort. It doesn’t negate the message. We do what we can, when we can. As long as we are working for social change, as long as we strive for a better world, ALL EFFORTS COUNT.
Yes, some efforts are “bigger” than others. But even a frickin’ ant moved the stupid rubber tree plant. One re-post could be the catalyst for change, as much as any march or speech or vote. It is all inter-linked. [see what I did there? I’m such a doof.]
So post the photo.
Link the article.
Take the poll.
Call the Senator.
Go to the march.
Make your vote.
Keep talking. Keep the important things in the consciousness of us all.
Even if it’s the very least that you could do.
At least you did it.
*editing to reflect that this is just ONE thing that I took from the original FB post. It was a nuanced post. I only expanded on this bit of my thought process about hir’s set of dicussion points. 🙂