Performative Activism

In the age of the media and with the state of the world being shaky and uncertain, a lot of people are lost and misdirected on how to effectively make change or do something important and properly. There is activism which by definition is the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. This comes in many forms and exists in many situations but any action to bring an issue to light for change is the goal. 

The definition of social media is the use of websites and applications designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. Social media can be used for good. It can be used to share photos, videos, news, ideas, information, and educate people. It is quick and simple. Unfortunately, social media can also be used poorly. It can be used to push harmful agenda, for hate speech, bullying, deception, and lies. It is easy to get people to follow content, regardless of its basis. 

With social media being so prevalent, people use various sites and apps to post and share interests and problems within micro and macro settings. It is very easy to disseminate information through social media. The reach can be wide and effective. An issue with these platforms is that these posts and attempts to show solidarity can come off as shallow. By doing the bare minimum, people clear their conscience for showing a bit of interest, but then that is all they do. It makes them look like they are part of the movement on the surface level, and when it passes and is no longer trending, they go back to ignoring the problems at hand. 

These certain actions fall within a type of activism called performative activism which is the term referring to activism done to increase one’s social capital rather than because of one’s devotion to a cause. It shows that a person cares but only superficially and temporarily.

Activism has many faces, shapes, and forms. People can donate, protest, use media to sign petitions on websites or text in to sign petitions. There is also calling policy makers or writing an email or letter to them on the local, state, and federal level. There is a lot of spreading awareness, resources, and information that help show the world, online or in real life, about the problems people most care about. Doing any of these things or a combination of them is a great start. It is important to keep it up. Participating and contributing to any cause is important but being sincere and authentic goes a long way as well. 

There are ways to help productively. It is our job to be diligent in our search for the truth. There are organizations and companies to support and engage with to which you can donate to or do business with, and when you feel confident in their mission and values, and of course, if you are financially able to, contribute what you can to them. Purposefully directing your money to the cause that is important to you is a great way to show support and keep those organizations in business. 

Any bit helps. Whether you engage on social media or in person or both, there are many avenues for change and they differ for everyone. The important thing is that it is done for the right reasons. It should be from a place of genuine concern and care, not to just be trendy. Consider the struggles people face every day that cannot be avoided by closing the media sources and putting down their phone at the end of the day. And also, consider why you are participating or not.

by myawilson

I am a student at Colorado State University. I'm studying Economics with a minor in Business Administration. I love to be outdoors and in nature. I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world. I love drawing and painting. I also love to read and write.

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