Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, September 26, 2014

Clicktivism: Is It Making a Difference?

When you're perusing your daily avalanche of political e-mails and you “Click Here to tell the EPA to enforce already-existing clean air laws,” “Click Here to ask your senator to vote Yes/No on ________________” — you're practicing Clicktivism.

I like to think we're all making a tiny difference when we practice Clicktivism, even if each one of us is just a drop of water in the ocean.  As Mahatma Gandhi said:  “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it.”

And this brings me to one of my pet rants:  When I'm doing my daily (or even more often) rounds of clicktivism, I click on Send/Submit ONLY when my name/e-mail/street address are already filled in.  Sorry, but come on, you sent me an e-mail — you already have my e-mail address.  Hello!!?!  If you call somebody up and ask what their phone number is, that person is probably gonna hang up on you.

It's already time-consuming enough, wading through dozens of e-mails regarding causes you believe in, and going Click...Click...Click...without typing in your name, e-mail address, street address and phone number over and over and over.

And there seems to be some sort of inverse/perverse ratio involved.  If the e-mail is regarding something you're mildly interested in and you're thinking “hmmm, yeah, I guess so,” they already have all your information filled in.  On the other hand, there's “Dear Tom:  There's only one wolverine left in the entire world, and he's going to be tortured to death if you don't sign this URGENT petition Right NOW” — followed by “Now, type in your first name, last name, e-mail address, street address, zip code, phone number...”  AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

But I digress...

Anyway, the linked article says Clicktivism doesn't really help; it just gives people a false sense that they're doing something, contributing something, making a difference.  If the person wasn't just sitting at their computer clicking away, he/she might actually go out there and do something.  Or maybe this same person wouldn't have been involved at all; wouldn't have been doing any political activity if it weren't for these online petitions.

Is the glass half full or half empty?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd really like the group to sound in on this. It seems to just paint a target on your back for spam, or put you on the politicians email list.

I have read of some successes but I still believe it does no good


September 26, 2014 at 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Circle Girl said...

I want to think it does some good, but I don't know -- I do get about a zillion of these e-mails practically every day, and I mostly just delete them, which is no hardship.

I think like most of us I'm frustrated with how little impact we each seem to have. Clicking makes me feel a little more proactive, and I think that's a good thing. If people think there's a chance that they're making a difference, I believe it makes them more like to vote. That's gotta be a good thing, right?

So far I haven't had any bad results, no spam to speak of.

September 27, 2014 at 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems to be two levels: One just lets you click and the others will ask you to give some information so that it looks more legitimate. Those are the type that tend to spam you.

Is this the same as a on-line petition?


September 27, 2014 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: The "group" has been steadily dwindling over the past few months (longer than that actually), so I don't know if anyone else will chime in or not. Blogs seem to have gone the way of the hula hoop and the covered wagon. I'm not into all the other social media, so I just keep putt-putting along in my Model A while everyone else is driving a state-of-the-art sports car.

CG: I agree, clicking is better than nothing. It would be more effective if everyone was out there protesting and doing volunteer work, but that's not gonna happen. I don't think it's caused an increase in spam, in my case.

Erik: I guess some of these e-mails are online petitions and some are mass e-mailings. I don't make much of a distinction; they seem to have the same purpose. These organizations should already have all of your information -- name, e-mail address, street address (after all, they sent you an e-mail) -- which is why I skip the ones that don't already have that information filled in.

I don't get much spam, but the more of these political e-mails I click on, the more e-mails I get.

September 27, 2014 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Tom depends what my glass is half full of :). I'd like to think as well as my real life activism clicking here and there does make a difference.

September 28, 2014 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: The glass is half full of either, uh, cognac or castor oil, I forget :)

Getting out there in person and doing something is certainly more effective than "clicktivism," but every click helps too, in some small way.

September 29, 2014 at 11:23 AM  

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