A New Kind of Civic Activism

This week’s lesson on teen activism really struck a cord with me. Not because I am a teenager and not because I’m an activist, I’m neither actually, but because I am currently in a civic engagement course and this is an ongoing debate for political scientists.

Does effecting change online really have any less meaning than if it were offline? The answer should be no. Civic engagement is not declining amongst American citizens, but the methods of doing so are changing. Like, Jim Loughran, head of media and communications for human rights group Front Line Defenders, explains, “Social media enables us to maintain a support and contact base in almost every country in the world.”

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Social media connects more people than any mailing address or weekly organization meeting ever could, but the old timers call this “slacktivism.” Sitting on your butt clicking and typing away isn’t the way to get things done… Or is it? I’m the kind of person that would rather beeline to the dessert table rather than take the long way around the buffet. Online activism is sweet in that regard!

Back in the day, kids from the age of 13-25 (depending on the voting age) were seldom viewed as agents of concern or change. But now, technology has made them heard and the younger cohorts can use these digital tools as avenues to become more civilly engaged at a younger age.

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5 thoughts on “A New Kind of Civic Activism

  1. It is really cool that such young people have a voice that is heard now! I really liked your post this week and the way you lead into it. Made me want to keep reading. Good job!

  2. I think digital activism counts just as much as ever. The revolution in Egypt started as a Facebook group, more or less. Anonymous has been hunting down and obliterating terrorist websites and social media pages. Just because we’re not out in the streets waving picket signs around doesn’t mean nothing’s getting done.

    If anything, this could be seen as more effective. How often do you listen to the guy with the megaphone on the street corner? I know I don’t.

    1. Honestly, if a man was yelling on a street corner through a megaphone I would run the other way. That’s just the day and age we live in, but there is nothing wrong with that.

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