Don't be a 'Slacktivist'. Be an Activist.

Is is just me, or has it been a while since we’ve heard anything from our friends over at “Anonymous” and “The Occupy Movement.” Seriously, it’s almost as if these two groups just stopped doing things. I’m sure that’s probably not true, at least I hope there are still people out there fighting the good fight, but there was a moment there when it really felt like the whole world was going to protest. It was getting really exciting. Or obnoxious. Depending on how you view things.

If you were to perform a search on twitter right this moment for “#occupy,” you would definitely see a few things about Tel Aviv and New Orleans. Maybe there would be some talks about the “Robin Hood Tax,” and some other related propaganda here and there, but my point is you would have to search for it.

Wait, what was that? You mean that I, all of a sudden, have to go out of my way to hear about what’s going on in what some have called, “the next great human rights movement,” ? We’re all humans, aren’t we? Shouldn’t we be hearing about how we’re getting duped by giant corporations? I, for one, would certainly like to know the real reason why media coverage of the Occupy movement has decreased, but fear not! I have a few theories of my own:

(ranked in order from least plausible to probably true)

1. The government has successfully silenced the voice of the people.

Finally, after much effort, the federal government has finally put a stop to all free speech. Effectively converting us into a police state. Any day now they’ll be filing us into prison camps and taking away our birth names in favor of numbers and barcodes.

2. The media has stopped covering these protests, in favor of more human interest stories.

The media has decided to take on an overall gentler persona. Focusing mainly on human interest stories about squirrels on waterskis and octogenarians who have been feeding birds at the same bench in the same park ever since World War II ended.

3.The general public got bored, and though there are still quite a few “revolutionaries” out there, the message has slowly fallen out of the mainstream.

The initial number of “activists” that spoke out in favor of the occupy movement were actually just hipsters who wanted to piggy back onto another trend, and maybe live in a tent for a couple of days. A tent which they really paid $300 for at REI, but they swear they found it at a thrift store, even though they had the receipt in the back pocket of their jeans that they bought at Urban Outfitters, but swear they got at Buffalo Exchange.

Yeah, guys! Rah Rah! Occupy!

Oh no, did I just make things controversial? What’s your problem, Rocky? You seem to hate the idea of a whole bunch of people getting behind a cause! Do you hate change-oriented people? How about you go to hell, you apathetic douche!

Woah woah, guys. Calm down. That’s not what I’m saying at all... and remind me to kick the guy who called me a douche’s ass. I’m just a firm believer that we should never do anything for appearances. If you wan’t to get behind something, you should feel comfortable committing to it 100%. The internet has changed that. Nowadays, we log onto Facebook, scroll through our news feeds, and the moment we see something even remotely emotional we repost it. Not necessarily because we hold those opinions ourselves, but because we think it makes us look good to hold those opinions.

I don’t know about you, but I am sincerely scared by the rise of slacktivists. I know that people are prone to bandwagoning, and it’s pretty innocuous when it comes to things like sports and pop-culture (though still annoying), but causes are something completely different. Causes change things. At least, they are meant to change things. These are social issues that are meant to inspire legislation to fix broken systems. This is world changing stuff, and if we can just drop those topics as quickly as we can unfollow someone on twitter, what does that say for the young voting population? Are we just gonna sit on our ever-pretentious, opinion formulating asses and just watch the world burn?

On the converse side, what happens when slacktivists are targeted by a group of hate-mongers who just manage to trick you into supporting something truly dastardly just, because you’re too lazy to read up on the hot political moment you’re supporting at the tim? I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, as a by-product of clever marketing and viral appeal, a million unknowing signatures sign a petition that their trendy friends signed that really just helped promote genocide. It’s an extreme example, but it could happen.

I know I’m a contrarian, I have accepted that about myself. The moment anything reaches meme status, I find myself looking at the other side of the coin. Yes, I’m a troll, but at least I take a moment to think before I speak and act. I’m not saying I’m the perfect example. In fact, I’m full of apathy and indifference, but I’m not just going to get behind something that I know nothing about to project some sort of persona outwards. It’s just not worth it.

I guess this has a bit to do with originality. I’m just not going jump off a bridge because all my friends are doing it. Most of this is about remaining informed. With out a basis behind our words, our voice is weakened. The more ignorance there is, the less merit a message has. So, don’t be a slacktivist. Be an activist. 

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