THE BLOG

Diluting Digital Activism

02/11/2014 12:20 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2014

Knee-jerk reactions neatly quantified into discernible rows of passive activists -- that is you and I sprinkled with a side of Twitter and Facebook. We want change, but we don't have time to make it. We are limited due to our affiliation within the Bored at Work Network (BWN) which is compiled of workers like us who login to media to cope with our benign work day existence. We are trapped in the industrialized economy remnants with 2.0 brain-based goals. Our fuel of choice is images and spectacle which rile us up and unlock our online fervor. Let our advisories know we are ready for the fight: We've got more Times New Roman where this came from as well as a short fuse and an amplified mouth.

The Game Has Changed

Martin Luther King Jr. marched hand-in-hand with 250,000 people for civil rights which represented one of the largest demonstrations ever witnessed on our nation's capital. The reverberations echoed around the world and had lasting effects. This week the White House will respond to the petition to deport Justin Bieber with its 255,000 accumulated signatures. The Bieber derivative is tongue-in-cheek to many, but perhaps it does something more subversive than its call to action: It dilutes the credibility of this form of activism. And perhaps that is not all bad.

Our modern view has skewed the perspective of voice. If activism is "liked" just as easy as a photo on Gawker are we helping anything in the process? Our digital world has clearly linked us and created the infrastructure for short attention spreadable media -- but as masses change courses and implement discernible change on quick bursts of information the derivative is problematic.

Theodore Roosevelt once said "A vote is like a rifle: Its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." With our digital conscious leading to collective action, the outcomes are significantly more powerful than the character of any one user. The risk we run is the assumption that thousands of digital approvals are orientated toward deeper knowledge on an issue, when in fact the mass outcry might be caught in a feedback loop amongst itself. Truth lives in the murky water of polar thought blending and mixing. If we don't calibrate our digital voices and realize the biased nature that can pervade this amplification tool, we lose the very thing we are after: a competent and well-thought-out future.