Any one of my Facebook friends – who haven’t blocked me from their news feed yet, hah – can tell you that I feel strongly about many issues. Unfortunately, Facebook is just about where the conversation ends. The strong feelings remain even after I’ve left my computer chair, but somehow they don’t translate into words except seldomly in conversations with someone else who has an interest or opinion on the matter. That makes me an armchair activist – or a ‘slacktivist’, as gunnarolla calls it.
Recently I’ve been questioning why this is – why do I not convert my armchair passion for justice, equality and compassion into real activism by actually doing something to effect social change? Worse, is slacktivism no better than no activism?
One of the reasons for this lack of action (lacktion? lol) is my terrible fear of imposing on other people. It’s the same reason I am such a bad public speaker/presenter. My Facebook wall is a like a bulletin – others have the choice of reading it or not. My hope whenever I post something new is that it will catch at least one person’s eye and interest them enough that they think on it, or read further. And those people who have no (current or potential) interest, I have no problems with them not reading it. I don’t wanna play Farmville – you don’t have to read my links.
To start a bi- or multilateral conversation on an issue IRL is a little daunting. I guess I’m scared that they won’t be interested and either pretend to be or switch topics. Once someone called me pretentious (to my face!) for bringing up something "philosophical." I mean, frig, we were in high school – everything is philosophical in high school. Another possible scenario: they’re interested but hold an opposing view. This is technically ok, but to be completely honest, I find it hard to talk to people with opposing views. Is this lame? Probably. But it’s hard for me to maintain my position with eloquent points. I’d much rather have a brainstorm-style session. Once a friend and I disagreed so vehemently on something we had to switch topics or stop speaking to each other.
It doesn’t help that a group of friends recently carried out an ‘intervention’ because I was posting too much political stuff on Facebook. That’s got me thinking about whether my ‘average’ friend’ has similar interests to mine, or care about similar issues.
To sum up, I basically feel like a slightly crummy person for not being a ‘real world’ activist.
Are there issues you care deeply and strongly about? Do you share them with your friends/family, and if so, how?