Cyber Activism

Public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada…
Propose a new agreement to protect our oceans…
Canada Post: don’t end home delivery…
Minister Alexander: Let the Pusuma family stay in Canada…
Stop puppy mills and prohibit the sale of household pets…
Malala: Stand with me and the Nigerian girls…

One click to join these causes. One click to become involved. One click to feel that you are part of something bigger. One click to show that you care.

One click to change the world.

That’s how activism works these days. Sometimes it almost feels too easy. That may be the beauty of it. Nowadays, information spreads across the globe, across laptops, cellphones and tablets within seconds of earth time. The ubiquitous world wide web, the interconnected matrix of Facebook posts, twitter updates and other miscellaneous online personal declarations, the easily available sense of justice and righteous involvement–there are many things for us to be indignant about. We want the world to be a better place. We want it to be fair. In its positive light, social media or websites like change.org promote awareness. Having the opportunity to assert our presence online and to make our voice heard is making progressive changes to the way we live and the way we think about the world. Nowadays, anything can become a cause–all we need is the internet, as well as a login name and a password.

That is the beauty of it. The widespread information and most importantly, access to information gives us more power than we will ever know. We are no longer powerless to change what we deem unjust or unfair. We are given the chance to express ourselves, to participate, to act, and to help make things happen.

On the other hand, all we’re doing is just sitting in front of our laptops and thumbing our cellphones. Do we really care about what happens to our oceans or the Pusama family? Are websites like Change.org some kind of psychological-activist-trip for our ego and conscience? Is it simply feeding us doses of involvement so we can righteously feast on one cause after another? So what after we sign a petition online? What happens then? We forget about it and shove it to the back of our heads, most likely.

Then again, is it overly idealistic and unrealistic to expect the world to be perfectly and wholeheartedly altruistic?

Given the moment and the circumstances, we are all perfectly capable of being altruistic. Most of us choose not to act on it, though. The one-clicker activism seems like a great way get involved yet not get involved. The truth is we are all too tightly circuited in and bound by our personal lives that we do not have the time to care more about what’s happening around us. There’s no way out, really, how are we supposed to give up our present obligations to ourselves, to our work and career, to our own isolated passions, to people who depend on us, to our busy lives?

Maybe it’s just a means to an end. As long as it gets the job done, right? I mean…positive changes are happening. That means these e-signatures are working. We are expressing our voice, we are externalizing our values, and we are upholding what’s right and what isn’t.

Who cares if we don’t care enough?

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