Is Clicktivism Meaningless?
Posted by Allison Fine on September 14, 2010
I rarely have a conversation with an on land activist that doesn’t lead to a lament of clicktivism. It’s usually followed by complained about Millennials and their digital habits.
For years, my answer has been that clicktivism – clicking on a cause to share it with friends or give money – is that any action in support of a cause is a good thing. Organizations are charged with creating “ladders or engagement” to step up a portion of these people to deeper levels of activities. Surfrider Foundation is outstanding at doing this as we highlight in The Networked Nonprofit.
But then I read this article about Clicktivism ruining leftist activism and began to wonder, “Do we have it wrong?”
Here is the key graph:
Clicktivists utilise sophisticated email marketing software that brags of its “extensive tracking” including “opens, clicks, actions, sign-ups, unsubscribes, bounces and referrals, in total and by source”. And clicktivists equate political power with raising these “open-rate” and “click-rate” percentages, which are so dismally low that they are kept secret. The exclusive emphasis on metrics results in a race to the bottom of political engagement.
I can easily make the case that there is a huge need for a ladder of engagement that connects clickers to more meaningful engagement. This is something the Obama campaign did spectacularly well and the Obama administration has done atrociously. What I’m rethinking is the amount of effort so many nonprofits are putting into clicks that are, at their core, meaningless. Do we really have such low expectations of people and their abilities and passions, that saying that we “Like” something on Facebook is seen as even worth staff time to coordinate?
Not sure where I’m going where, just mulling, but just as service efforts lose meaning when done too lightly, so does clicking. Worth continuing to mull, I think.
This entry was posted on September 14, 2010 at 5:56 am and is filed under Social Media. Tagged: clicktivism, email marketing, Surfrider Foundation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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