Wexistence

Wexistential Crises, Wayward Thoughts, Welcome Distractions and Willful Pursuits

On CyberPatriotism

with 2 comments

“Don’t want to fight for a feeling… We need a better kinder dreaming… Don’t need another fool, a faker… Be a mover and a shaker.” – Matthew Herbert, The Movers And The Shakers

Facebook responses to my previous post (sans the Ako Mismo drama because that just went on way too long)

CyberPatriot1:

Enough said about SLACKTIVISM…just do what needs to be done…at the right time, CyberPatriots will just rise up to situation when they are most needed…as far as i know, meron pupuntahan ang Filipino CyberPatriots Society!

CyberPatriot2:

@CyberPatriot1.. I am with you.. when the time is ripe… as I can see more hardships for the future generation now… we have to do something even if it will cost our lives!

Me:

“Often enough, if you just lived for country, you need not die for it.” (Conrado de Quiros, True Measure)

Ryan:

I have no doubt that many of us would be willing to put our lives on the line for our country.

However, the time for that is not now. I feel sometimes like the democratic action that took place during the original EDSA has created a nation of “war veterans” that no longer have a war to fight. Like old soldiers, old rallyists still insist on waging a war that no longer exists. Do we live in a corrupt country? Yes. Are we on the verge of collapse due to a violent dictatorship? Hardly.

We exist in a limbo where I honestly believe that the better action to take is to put down your figurative swords and find areas or causes that you want to support with concrete measures. WorldVision, Habitat for Humanity, Gawad Kalinga, Greenpeace, WWF, Haribon, take your pick. There are many ways for you to contribute beyond the pressing of a button to join what is in essence a virtual rally.

Me:

Another example: what students are doing for Project Citizen

CyberPatriot3:

Participating through advocacy groups now normally coursed through various (Facebook is the most popular) social networking sites helps in making people more aware about the issues that matter. You can’t do anything or for that matter fight for anything at all without first having proper and sufficient knowledge about it. I believe actual physical participation say, in rallies or any practical activity for that matter and “slacktivism” (as it is popularly referred to nowadays) are mutually reinforcing. “Slacktivism” (without seeing it as a pejorative term) in fact augments efforts to mobilize people toward a certain direction or goal, whatever it may be. Social networking sites, doubtless, further animates, intensifies, and certainly expands public discourse that leads to the next level of engagement on the part of willing participants. That in itself is a very positive contribution.

CyberPatriot4:

People have commitments not only to this country but to their families as well. People will focus first on their day to day sustenance before they can focus on anything else… If a person can only air their protests on line, then thank God the forum is available for them.

Me:

I don’t have anything against Facebook campaigns or similar activities. I do recognize their value. MGG is on Facebook and Twitter for a reason. And I love public discourse. As I mentioned in my post, “Awareness and information are definitely key to any kind of social transformation…”

My simple point is this: Civic participation shouldn’t end with clicking a button or buying into slick marketing campaigns. It’s a start and I welcome it, but people need to do more.

It’s actually not that hard to do something that has direct social impact. For example, there are people who supposedly care about HIV/AIDS, but the most significant thing they’ve done is attend a benefit concert or join a Facebook cause. But there are concrete things people can do to help prevent the spread of the disease or help make the lives of HIV/AIDS victims a little better. I know people who organize seminars in barangays to provide information on safe practices etc. I know someone who organizes fun activities for HIV/AIDS victims to help make their lives a littler happier. I think it’s small things like that, pooled together, that are going to produce real change.

Ryan:

@CyberPatriot1 I think you need to step back and take a look at what people who use the word slacktivism as a pejorative are frustrated about. They are frustrated because slacktivists’ actions end after the press of a button. All guilt has been assuaged. They have done their part for the greater good, and announce it to the world via Twitter, Facebook, and friendster. “look at me, I are changing d world.”

Awareness is great, but what you decide to do with that awareness is what really matters.

And let’s be clear, there are slacktivists out there. While it may be romantic to think that these people spread awareness of an an idea, let’s be honest and admit that once that button is pressed most people don’t bother thinking about it anymore. And that’s fine. They have responsibilities, as your fellow cyberpatriot said.

However, I personally feel that if that’s the level of commitment someone can give to a cause, then he/she might as well be honest with and admit that he doesn’t care enough.

Dante:

I saw that a lot back in UP, when I was a student and later an instructor. Certain people have this peculiar compulsion to be ‘part of something important’ yet not actually do enough of the mental or physical legwork. And it would really be a cause du jour situation for them because they’d just cause-hop constantly, like following fashion trends. It’s less about the cause than it is about defining your identity.

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. As I am wont to say to self-styled ‘digital activists’, the Internet and its features are there as tools and platforms to educate and to publicize, two important ingredients in doing advocacy campaigns. But to what end? Changing the world does not end in merely knowing about the issue. It’s about taking a stand, and doing something to change the status quo. Sure, after a person clicked the mouse button and registered his or her position on an issue, then what? He or she will just sit there and continue as usual?

    Change is something that is not passive. It requires active, and pro-active, stance from a person professing to be a change-maker. Changing society, esp ours, requires active citizenship and involvement. It should not end with a click of the mouse.

    sjsanjuan

    August 12, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  2. […] if you’re serious about social change your civic participation can’t begin and end with the click of a button. If you want to make an impact you still need to get involved the old fashioned way (i.e. offline). […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: