Bill Gates is not only one of the greatest minds of the century, but also one of the leaders in philanthropy. And he knows a thing or two about the dormant power of slacktivism, the act of waging a political or personal crusade from the comfort of your couch.
Sage that he is, Gates once explained his process of selection when choosing someone to lead a difficult project, saying “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
Today people are pretty lazy about making the world a better place. — all thanks to the rising slacktivism behavior we’ve adopted in the last few years. Just look at our homepages, social network feeds, and water cooler discussions.
Spreading awareness isn’t the reason we choose slacktivism over actually being an effective and helpful member of society. No, we do it because we love nothing more than the sound of our own voices while we harvest all the status ‘likes’ we get our hot little hands on. We’ve become resigned to doing as little as possible to achieve the appearance that we’re doing something great. Our work ethic now means that we work hard at projecting how much work we’re doing in a given day, while accomplishing virtually nothing by most traditional standards.
And this is both good and bad. Our collective involvement with trendy new causes is viewed as little more than the surface tension of an international crisis, contributing misinformation and rallying support based entirely on emotion. Take for example Kony 2012, and more recently, fake hurricane Sandy devastation photos.
But slacktivism isn’t exactly a worthless exercise either. SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA all went up against the slacktivist nation and were brought to their knees, because people refused to stop talking about it. In turn, it got everyone talking about how bad it was. But these examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harnessing slacktivism’s combination of feeling lazy while also feeling compelled.
Enter the effective slacktivist — here’s an encouraging 60 second video guide that warmly provides insight on how to embrace your future as the iconic armchair warrior of your social network:
Original warrior photo via AlexSutula/Shutterstock
Greg Voakes is the General Manager of HackCollege.com, and creator of the most ultimate goat fan site in the world. He’s also written for Forbes.com and Huffington Post. You can find him on Twitter at @gvoakes.