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Digital or Performative Activism?

Digital activism vs performative activism: so, what's the difference?

In the digitally-driven times that we’re living in, social media can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. Have you seen The Social Dilemma? So much good can be done through social media and you can impact so many people through a digital platform – especially when 8 out of 10 Americans are on social media and by 2023, we can expect 277 million active users on social platforms in the U.S. alone according to Statista. But there’s a lot of virtue signaling out there, so it’s important to be able to spot it.

Digital activism is a form of activism that uses the power of the internet + social media for mass mobilization and political action. #MeToo and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement were fueled by the power of digital activists

Digital Activism is a form of activism that uses the power of the internet + social media for mass mobilization and political action. For example, #MeToo and the #BlackLivesMatter Movement were fueled by the power of digital activists. Performative Activism is a negative term used to describe activism done to increase one’s social capital rather than because of one’s devotion to the cause. Digital Activism does not always equate to performative activism, 64% of Americans said that they were more likely to support social and environmental issues via offline actions after they liked a post or followed a nonprofit online. 

Performative Activism is a negative term used to describe activism done to increase one's social capital rather than because of one's devotion to the cause. 

Did you participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge because you wanted to raise awareness about ALS or because everyone else was doing it?

The issue that some see with digital activism is that it can be performative in nature (but it’s not always). It’s easy to repost a black square in your feed, it’s harder to do the work required to address your own inherent racism. When it comes to advocating for a cause, you should ask yourself: Am I doing this because I care or because I want people to know that I care? What steps am I going to take to help this cause in addition to spreading awareness?

Social media is a tool and a facilitator, a place where you can connect, speak up, and organize. That’s what we envisioned for Humanified.

Digital Activism does not always equate to Performative Activism. 

64% of Americans said that they were more likely to support social and environmental issues via offline actions after they liked a post or followed a nonprofit online. - Cone communications, digital activism study

Implementing what you learn online IRL is key. Keep spreading awareness, asking for resources, and doing what you can to help. Then, take that next step to offline action.

Remember, we’re here to #MakeChangeHappen.