Is Slacktivism Good?

I guess it’s kind of like being an “arm-chair quarterback” or a “back seat driver”. Slacktivism (Slacker + Activism) refers to doing good without doing much. Donating thru a text message. Clicking on a link to generate donations. Wearing a rubber wristband to show your support of a cause.

Is this bad?

I don’t think so. Obviously, the world needs activist who actually roll up their sleeves and get involved in solving the world’s problems. But, are people that support them thru money (or clicks) or some other form of support not important?

In today’s social media world and connected world, donating and supporting causes should be easier. Everyone wants to announce their support for movements in Facebook from “my college is better than yours” (Go Blue!) to “I checked my H1c today” to “stop Communism”.

But, the article in Fast Company that got me on this topic talks about a few great case studies:

  • FreeRice.com – For every correct answer you get to the questions they ask, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Program. Why not? 22 million bowls of rice have been generated by this program.
  • Haiti donations to the American Red Cross – The $10 text message pledges raised $38M.

So, how do we tap into this with healthcare? That seems to be the Holy Grail.

  • Lose weight without diet or exercise. (why so many weight loss pills sell)
  • Take my medication without having to remember every day. (e.g., patch)
  • Track my vitals without going to the physician’s office. (connected devices)

Social pressure certainly plays a role here. The question is whether our privacy concerns outweigh the benefits (often not understood) of participating in certain social activities. For the younger generation, this will not be an issue. They don’t view privacy the same way. For the older generation (who by the way are the sick and expensive patients today), privacy is a big deal and some of them are technophobic (although probably less than you think).

BTW – Did you click thru on the FreeRice.com link yet? Come on.

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