UK – With the advent of the internet and social media a new phenomenon has arrison. Today you hear so many people say that they are internet activists. Political activists, Feminist activists, Transsexual activists, Gay rights activists even Sexual activists. So many in fact that you start to ask yourself questions like, What is an activist?
It is not a million miles from, Who are they? Are these activists any good? Do we actually need all these activists? With so many activists around why haven’t all these cherished causes achieved their goal?
Ok well that has asked what I hope is the right set of questions let us get round to answering them.
What is Activism?
According to the wikipedia, Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change, or stasis with the desire to make improvements in society and to correct social injustice.
So in short Activism is working to advance the interests the chosen cause.
How do you actually achieve this goal?
We need to win over people to the chosen cause who may be rather indifferent to, dubious to or even opposed to it.
That means that you need to get out and meet and discuss and or debate with people in the street and demonstrate that the cause is not a threat to them or their families.
That is of course easiest with those who are indifferent to the cause and those who are dubious. The ones who are opposed to a cause can be won over sometimes. Provided that the Activist does not get into a slanging match with them.
One thing is for sure though, insulting those who are opposed to you is not going to impress anybody. Especially those who are indifferent or dubious.
Who are all these activists?
With so many activists on so many forums we do have to ask ourselves just who are they and what got them into activism? Well taking facebook as an example of the social media.
Well we find that that there are literally tens of thousands of would be activists promoting every cause that you can imagine. If you look hard enough you will find people promoting causes that you would really rather not try to imagine. Such is the diversity of tastes and interests indulged by humanity.
But remembering that an activist by definition needs to be able to debate an issue and be able to take on board counter arguments in order convert people to the cause or even get them to stop agitating for the other side.
When you look at facebook activists you find that they only preach to the already converted. Worse still many are completely unable to debate an idea or to abstract an idea and try to see it from another side.
Some even tend to de-friend anybody who disagrees with them. Thus negating their entire claim to being an activist.
Some other shout abuse at anyone who has the temerity to question them. Not that was question them, not even opposing them. That is a spectacular own goal.
Ok so who are these internet activists?
Well without offending anyone or targeting any one group in particular. We end up with the profile an activist who is someone who is quite damaged.
A person who is desperately trying to find a acceptance and or a relevance and place somewhere in society. So scared of rejection that anywhere will do…
It is a little like a dog for whom any attention is better than no attention. Even when that attention is a kick. They are happy as long as they know their place.
Do internet activists do any good?
Given the answers to the previous questions it is tempting to say, “No they do not do any good.”
But I do think that is not true. They do act as a method of distributing information throughout a community. With the proviso that the recipients are fairly discriminating about the information transmitted.
So all in all I believe that internet activism probably does more harm than good. Given that it is generally not reaching the people that it is needing to.
It is also probable that the best thing that internet activism does is to give a feeling of self worth to the activist. Without the disadvantage of them actually having to go outside their front door and actually meeting real people.