10 Mistakes that Online Activists Just Can’t Avoid Doing

We live in a world where, luckily, most of us have access to uncensored information and we have the option of publishing information. Because of that, whenever there are riots around the world, there will be at least one person tweeting about it.

On the other hand, there will be people who will support the idea driving the riots. It doesn’t have to be about riots at all. “Internet people” will support almost everything today because it’s so easy and convenient. Whether it’s OccupyWallStreet, IranElection or earthquakes causing nuclear disaster in Japancouch activism is something even you could do, but shouldn’t, and here’s why.

1. Your Social Media Avatar Means Nothing

Oh look, you’ve painted your avatar in green! How noble of you, supporting the world with a click of a mouse button! Really, at least have some decency and give some money, clothes, food or something useful to some relief fund, because no matter who you think you are on your social media channels – your avatar won’t be much of a help to the unfortunate ones.

2. Pointless Blogging

The Blog, although beaten by social networks, still is a powerful tool in delivering ones message to the public. The problem is that many couch activists will open a blog and write up a post or two filled with nothing else than hollow and pointless messages, metaphores that actually mean nothing and have no impact on anyone. These blogs won’t have original content, and everything that is written on them has little or no sense.

3. Flame Wars

What is one thing that is more pointless than pointless blogging? That’s right – flame wars. You can get into them in blog comments, news article comments, forum posts, Twitter, Facebook… Everywhere. But please, please don’t! You’re arguing with trolls of the Internet and your discussion will get you nowhere. Besides, the time spent arguing might be better used with some real life action and help.

4. Drama Queen

Alright, you fight for some cause. It may be global, it may be local. The one thing people don’t stand is exaggeration. Yes, your local cinema might be shutting down, but is it really worth your effort? Do you really need to make an elephant out of a fly?

Are you being a drama queen? (Image credit: misterkitty.org)

5. Supporting Something Because It’s Cool

If you’re supporting something just because your friends are doing the same, you might be doing the wrong thing there. It’s OK to believe in different things and take a stand for different causes. But supporting something that you don’t believe in or you don’t even know what it’s about is just wrong (and not helpful at all).

6. Giving Support Through Social Applications

The laziness hit the new record – now you can feed the hungry if you will just by installing some application on your Facebook profile. Even better – “copy this status if you think that something is wrong with this world!” – I mean, really? If that is all you can do as an activist, you should be ashamed of yourself.

7. Using the Community for Selfpromotion

Every activist’s move has a person who started everything, some sort of a leader. As long as this leader is smart and has a goal to accomplish, you’re fine. But if that person is doing all of it for selfpromotion, just to be on TV then you’re in trouble.

The same goes with online communities. Sure, online communities can be strong and very often they will show  results. But if your goal is to get on a frontpage of some news site – you’re doing it wrong.

8. Procrastinating

Internet can be dangerous for people who don’t have self-control over their time. So instead of persuading people online to join you and to support you in your activities, your leader might got stuck playing some online game or browsing funny videos on YouTube. That sure won’t help to get your message across.

Image credit: simplyzesty.com

9. Instant Messaging Addict

Instant messaging platforms are great for some quick arrangements but don’t base your activity on them. Trust me, I’ve seen people who simply wouldn’t start doing anything before they’ve set up personal IM tools, collaboration IM tools, oh, and let’s not forget, some online instant messenger as well. Being an activist is about being active and doing something!

10. Multitasking So You Could Feel Important

Deep down inside, you know that your protest isn’t going to work. Maybe you’ve just took a larger bite than you can chew, or maybe there is no public interest in you. However, try to delegate some tasks. Don’t let everything fall on your back just so you could feel like you’re responsible and important. Allow someone to manage your Facebook page, someone else to take care of the Twitter account and you can send e-mail newsletters. Divide and conquer.

You should understand that online activism is virtually non-existant. Online networks serve only as a tool for arranging a time and a place of the action, while everything else needs to be done in real life. Next time when you wish to support something, get out and do it! Just please, please don’t put that little badge on your avatar.

Title image credit: cambodia4kidsorg4CU8749T7U8W


Nikola Krajacic

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