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Reply #2: They Are Calling Them "Clicktivists" [View All]

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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:46 PM
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2. They Are Calling Them "Clicktivists"
The Clicktivists - a new breed of protesters
Ben Bryant
17 Jan 2011

Faces of protest: clockwise from top left, False Economys
Clifford Singer, Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy, Milena
Popova of Yes to Fairer Votes, Ellie Mae OHagan of UK Uncut,
blogger Laurie Penny, Sean OHalloran and Jessica Riches of
UCL Occupation and David Babbs of 38 Degrees


As protests go, a lunchtime dance outside the Bank of England wouldn't even register as an act of civil disobedience. And yet, for the dozens of people who attended last Friday's Dance Against The Deficit to bump and grind to the bewilderment of City workers, it makes perfect sense.

It would be glib to describe this kind of playful protest as the new face of activism but the dance, which was organised by a group of bloggers and activists, posted on Facebook and publicised by interested people on Twitter, shows how campaigning has evolved. The way in which activists are exchanging ideas and mobilising has changed, thanks to social media, and it's this, along with a surge in public dismay over Coalition cuts and broken promises, that is fuelling a resurgence in popular protest.

Activists haven't always embraced the internet so readily. Critics of acts like signing up to an online petition or liking a cause on Facebook argue that they dissuade users from getting off their computers and on to the streets to protest.

This kind of flirtation with a cause even has a name clicktivism, the sort of activism that's perfectly suited to the process of skittering across the web from the Save Darfur Facebook page to a video of sneezing pandas on YouTube.

Organisations such as UK Uncut, however, are bucking this trend, successfully translating online campaigns into offline action. The latest clicktivists are smart, media-savvy, highly engaged with social media, accessible, usually only loosely organised, and well aware of the pitfalls of clicktivism. They use social media to enable a public sceptical of traditional party political routes to engage with the issues on their own terms.




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