My Facebook friends already know that this past week ended grumpily for me. I was referred to as a “Slacktivist”, and while it was said tongue-in-cheek, it still ticked me off. Before I continued on in my dark mood, I figured I’d best check the definition of the term. Perhaps I was misjudging. Neither Merriam Webster nor Oxford dictionaries online had “Slacktivist”, so I went with often trusty Wikipedia.
Wikipedia says, “The word is considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts also tend to require little personal effort from the slacktivist.” Hurumph.
“Examples … include signing internet petitions, the wearing of wristbands (“awareness bracelets”) … putting a ribbon magnet on a vehicle, joining a Facebook group, posting issue-oriented YouTube videos, … or taking part in short-term boycotts such as Buy Nothing Day or Earth Hour.” I don’t exactly get why these are judged as ‘bad” things. Some are, indeed, things that Nils and I have chosen to do, others not, but each can be effective in building awareness and can have Impact, albeit in their own small way.
The definition I choose
I’ve decided to accept this in good spirit because I discovered that the term was “… coined by Dwight Ozard in1995,” with a different meaning. It was used to describe the young people of that time doing good work on a small, personal, individual scale (rather than en masse in demonstrations, marches or sit-ins). In my view, that could mean helping a small community or classroom, or one child, animal or adult in need. As a good friend of mine reminded me, “From small drops, big oceans are formed.”
The truth of the matter? 52 Weeks of Impact isn’t about coordinating large efforts, it’s about “achiev(ing) maximum impact with ‘reasonable investment’ of time, energy or money.” That could also be read as “little personal effort,” I suppose.
This week’s challenge
In the spirit of Slacktivism (by the definition I choose), I invite our lazy friends and followers to join us this week in doing as little as possible, with maximum Impact. No, honestly, this is no joke. I am forever surprised at what kind of opportunities there are to have Impact by doing little. See just how much Impact you can have by NOT going out of your way.
We’re going to run this Slacktivist challenge for the next two weeks and:
We’ll donate $25 U.S./20 Euro* to the winner’s favorite charity
Here’s the challenge:
- Send us your best Slacktivist Impact Effort(s) — the lazier the better, but of course it must have some Impact. Give a brief description of your Impact Effort (provide a link to an organization, if applicable) and the Impact you think you had. Submit below in comments or go to Contact us. (Make sure you leave an email address for us to contact you)
- The Efforts must be things you’ve done (we’ll have to trust you on this).
- You may submit as many Slacktivist Impact Efforts as you want by midnight EST on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010.
- On (or about) October 6th, Nils and I will short-list what we think are the top Efforts and (as soon as possible) we’ll post them online for voting.
- The Slacktivist Impact Effort with the most number of votes wins.
- The winner may choose any 501(c) or equivalent officially recognized charity and Nils and I will donate $25 U.S*.
Efforts will be judged on any or all of the following criteria:
- Ratio of Laziness to Impact,
- Coolness Factor,
- Originality, and
- whatever else strikes us at the moment.
Some examples to get your creative Impact juices flowing
- Earlier this year we did a week of Effortless Impact with click-to-donate sites. Since then, we’ve discovered that’s only the beginning.
- If you’ve read of a company doing something that’s contrary to your political or ethical leanings, choose not to support them, and send them a letter or a simple email telling them why you’ve not a customer. (A list of current consumer boycotts can be found at Ethical Consumer).
- It’s the start of autumn (or spring for those in the southern hemisphere) and time for autumn/spring cleaning. What can you give away to charity? Click for decluttering ideas and clearing out closet ideas.
- Heading to your local library? Take a glance through your books and see what you can donate.
- Going to a grocery store, library, school, yoga class, or somewhere else that has a community bulletin board? Print out a pdf flyer on the symptoms of ovarian cancer and post it to create awareness.
- Do you play Farmville on Facebook? Just by playing and collecting virtual school supplies from your FV friends you can work toward having Zynga donate $100k U.S. toward building a school for Haitian children.
Got questions? Please feel free to write us below.
Now, go out (or stay in) and be a good Slacktivist!
*Approximately $20 EUR, $26 AUD, 16 GBP, $26 CAD, 178 ZAR