Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Slacktivism on Ice

The ice bucket challenge. Since I saw the first video on my facebook feed last week, I've seen at least three a day. So fucking annoying, and just another example of slacktivism, as the HuffPo blogger says in this article. Instead of actually doing any good for the cause, people are just doing this stupid little video to post on their wall and make themselves feel better. Fuck those videos!

But you know what? Fuck that blogger. As he so casually admits yet seems to ignore, the ALS Association has seen four times the amount of donations this year compared to last. Four times! That means this fucking challenge is working, better than anyone could have imagined! And people are having fun while doing it! What the hell is wrong with that? And what the hell is wrong with you people complaining about the videos?

And by you people, I'm including myself, because I was hating on them, too. At first, I almost completely agreed with the HuffPo blogger, until I discovered it was working exactly as it was intended. People are talking about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for the first time since Lou Gehrig died, and money is being raised to find a cure. Neither would have happened without these videos.

So fuck that blogger. He just sounds bitter because he got sucked into the whole Kony debacle. Kony was an example of slacktivism, and it can be a problem to real charity and social work, but this ain't Kony, and this isn't some internet petition. The blogger says all this challenge is doing is getting people to talk, as if talking about an issue isn't the first step to solving the issue. As if he's not just talking, out of his ass I might add, since he spouts his nonsense theory while glossing over the most important fact: IT'S RAISING MONEY!

Half of my facebook feed is filled with videos, and the other half is filled with posts expressing outrage about the videos. It's kind of odd, but I get it. I'm on the internet a lot, and I see all the viral videos and all the memes, usually early on. I get sick of them very easily. On top of that, some part of me wants to bring people down when they are having fun (the Harlem Shake made me want to Harlem strangle people). Take all that, plus the issue of slacktivism, and this challenge was like my kryptonite.

But charity, especially for medical conditions, is very near and dear to my heart, so I had to know if the challenge was actually working, and after literally the most minimal amount of research possible, I discovered that it is. This isn't slacktivism. Slacktivism is tweeting out hashtags and messages of support for things but not actually doing anything to help the cause. Money is absolutely the best way to help a cause like this, and people are donating money. That's activism. As far as the issue of being annoying, is the minor inconvenience to me really more important than helping people with ALS? Get over yourself jerk. Secondly,  scroll past the videos. I dont have to watch any of them, so how can I possibly be mad at that?

But I was, and that's part of the internet culture. Things get popular real quick then become instantly hated by a good portion of the population. When I put aside my automatic negativity toward popular social videos and memes and realized how successful the challenge has been, I've come to appreciate the fact that people are doing something positive.

Yes, people should just donate out of the goodness of their hearts year round (or right now!) but sometimes it takes something fun and out of the ordinary and social to motivate people. The ALS Association found something that works, so how can people possibly be upset? I saw a girl's post that said if anyone gave her the challenge, she would return a nice "fuck you" on their facebook wall. Holy shit! This is a charitable cause for people with a crippling disease we are talking about here. Chill out! #IceBucketChallengePuns

Hopefully, all those people who got mad at the videos and said things like, "I would rather just donate!" actually donated, otherwise they are the worst kind of complaining trolls. By the way, most people I know who did a video donated, too, so again, what are we mad at?  This stupid viral video worked! Congratulate yourselves, people of the internet!

Shoutout to all those who did the challenge and/or donated.

I Love You All...Class Dismissed.