Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slacktivism: My New Favorite Word


Have you seen this:
"Most people have 1000 wishes for Christmas; a cancer patient only has one,to get better. I know 97% of you won't repost this to your status, but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honor of someone who has died, or is still fighting, or survived cancer, copy this to your status."

Or this:
"Change your facebook profile picture to cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on FB till Monday Dec 6. Join the fight against child abuse. Copy and paste to your status and invite your friends to do the same."

"Slacktivism": Defined in the Urban Dictionary as "The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem, The search for the ultimate feel-good that derives from having come to society's rescue without having had to actually gets one's hands dirty or open one's wallet."

Now, I have nothing against fighting cancer or child abuse. In fact, I ride every year in the Philadelphia American Cancer Society Bike-a-thon, and contribute to others who participate in similar events. As for the cartoon character thing, I was taken to task by my otherwise sensible friends for not participating. My take: if you want to fight child abuse, do something about it, beginning with taking care of your own kids.

I am currently the administrator of a Facebook page called NJ against Chris Christie. How I became administrator was by accident. I came across the page in March, when I was angered by some of the items in the 2011 budget proposal, and wanted to engage in some slacktivism of my own. I contacted the creator of the page, exchanged some emails, and he made me the administrator. My duties consist of finding interesting news items and comments to post on the page, to spur some lively debate. Membership has grown to over 43,000, up from 60 in March.

This is all well and good, but not much gets accomplished except complaining and arguing. Very few members have actually attended any Christie Town Hall Meetings (I have). Very few have contacted the Governor or their State Legislators to air their grievances (I have).

I am ready to hand control of the NJACC page to someone else willing to preside over complaints and fat jokes. I am happy that my inaugural post to Blue Jersey was so well received and look forward to being a more regular contributor. I'm also teaming up with some friends on a special project which will be unveiled soon.

There is a great deal to be done in NJ politics in the near future: The next budget battle and State Legislature elections in 2011, keeping the White House and Senate Democratic in 2012, as well as gaining back the House majority, and of course, replacing the Current Occupant of Drumthwacket in 2013.

The next time someone asks you to join a Facebook group, "like" a page, join a cause, or sign an e-petition, ask them: "What are your DOING?"

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