The notion of Clicktivism has surfaced with the popularity of social networking sites and a more participatory culture online that embraces produsage. Engagement with new forms of media – particularly that of social networking, has led youth’s to become, or at least believe that they’re becoming more politically active. Most who claim an association or involvement with political activist campaigns, such as KONY 2012, tend to be under informed on the issue(s) that they declare to support.
KONY 2012 was a 30 minute video that reached more than 100 million viewers in the first week alone. It was created by a human rights organization – Invisible Children, and aimed to raise awareness about the children soldiering in Uganda. This campaign, like many others spread via social networking, received a massive response and incredible support. However, many of those who watched the KONY 2012 video automatically donated their support, based solely on the information that they had just received. In observing the reactions of people that were my ‘Facebook friends’ – it was evident that there was little to no scepticism or critical thinking employed – they just absorbed the information and accepted it as a horrific truth that might ‘go away’ if they shared the video or purchased KONY 2012 merchandise. “The film drew sharp criticism from many established human rights groups and Africa experts” (Jenkins 2012) and most of those that I know, just like many other supporters, “lacked the information and skills needed to defend their position in the face of… scrutiny” (Jenkins 2012).
Clicktivism has the capacity to raise awareness about political issues, however, content circulated via social media often lacks the substance necessary to inform those who to engage. Although many lack the skills and competencies needed to meaningfully participate and engage with the issues – creating awareness is a great place to start.