Breaking News! No One Cares What You “Like”
Stop the presses! A new study has been completed that suggests hitting the “like” button on social media has no effect on social change whatsoever. Shocking, right? There is little doubt, because of social media, individuals are able to voice their opinions in ways unavailable ten years back. But research suggests that not only we are not making an impact, we are also overvaluing our influence over others.
“It boils down to this,” the researcher said. “Nobody really cares. But if you want to affect change, hit the “thumbs down” button. That’ll throw them a curve ball.”
Scientist are coining this “exciting” discovery in sociology as “slacktivism.” What is “slacktivism?” It’s when individuals are slackers when it comes to their activism. They think just because they click a button declaring their moral position someone will take notice, when in fact they won’t. The question becomes, why do people click the “like” button on some things and not others. Is this a new form of discrimination?
“Sometimes I say to myself,” the researcher explained, “I miss working with rats. But the fact remains, it’s easier to support a cause from the couch than actually attend a protest.”
Motivation differs from person to person, just like the different levels of slacktivism. You can donate money with a click of a button. You can write a blog post and hit the publish button. You can sign a petition and hit the submit button. There is literally a button for everything! However, studies showed the problem is that once your need to act has been met by pushing this button, the motivation ends, and so does your support for the cause.
“We’ve also discovered something as aside, and that is, when you publicly ask for support and mix in just enough guilt to a room full of rich people, they are more likely to give on a continued basis.”
So what’s the takeaway? Scientists want us to pause before clicking. The reason? To look inward and reflect on our motivations. They say our reason for supporting some causes and not others may surprise us.
“I have to agree with that one,” said one of the participants. “Turns out, I was only working at the soup kitchen to get this guy’s attention. Once I learned he wasn’t into me, I bailed. I regret that, but it’s not like I’m going to meet any other keepers there.”
Missed last week’s “Breaking News You Can’t Use” on Death By Loneliness.