A Slacktivist Debate

A Slacktivist Debate

As the last show of our Radio Laurier citizen media project for our seminar class, Mike and I continued on from our theme last week to dive into a long discussion about equality.

Starting off with some local news, we discussed Waterloo Regional Police and their Jaywalking Awareness month during March where $50 traffic tickets for jaywalking were bombarding the students of Laurier.  While we can all agree jaywalking may not be the best choice, is it really that big of a deal? I mean come on, we’ve learned to look both ways when we cross the street ever since we were young. Although there have been a few serious accidents, should that be a lesson learned? Is it really the best use of our resources to have Regional Police on patrol for local jaywalkers? Careful, there may be one in your neighborhood!

After a brief update on the Steubenville Rape Case and the reporter who sympathized with the convicted rapists, we moved on to another story of equality – the Human Rights Campaign.

Now, if you’ve noticed a bunch of your friends on Facebook and Twitter changing their profile pictures to a pink equal sign surrounded by a red square, then they are supporting the Human Rights Campaign. This campaign is a movement in protest against DOMA and Proposition 8 in the United States. Essentially, they are advocating that same sex marriage be recognized in the United States. As debate in the Supreme Court continues, social media users everywhere are joining the cause. Or are they?

This choice of changing a profile picture began a very long conversation about slacktivism; a term recently discussed in our class. While the Human Rights Campaign website did have links to ways you can get more involved in the movement, it predominately was asking people to ‘Like’ it on Facebook or Tweet it, and change your profile picture. But come on, does this really mean you are doing something? Sitting in front of your computer clicking a few buttons to change your profile picture does not make you an activist; nor does it mean you have joined this movement.

The expanding use of Social Media has caused people to believe that what buttons they click online will make a difference, but we’re saying it just makes you lazy. However, I did bring in the alternative side of the debate, saying that due to a large percent of the population acting online, the public sphere has drastically changed. So today, changing a profile picture and ‘Liking’ a movement or signing a petition is an act of activism in a way. In this online world we live in, this would be equivalent to attending a protest.

However, Mike and I did agree that simply clicking this button should not be the end of your activism. You should be doing more to learn about the movement itself and spread the word. In my opinion, changing your profile picture is great in terms of raising awareness, which is the first step, but it needs to be followed up by meaningful actions if you are truly interested in helping the movement.

Although it’s difficult to summarize a forty minute debate, that is the jist of it!

To end it off, we wanted to encourage everyone to get informed on the recent goings on between North Korea and the United States with regard to missile launches and stealth bombers. While these have not been armed, there are heated threats occurring between the two, which could result in serious ramifications for Canada.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Friday without a weird news story, and this one is pretty cool! A photographer has begun a photo series entitled Zoo Portraits where he photographs the head of an animal and pastes it onto the body of a human. He states that he is using the human clothing to compliment the natural human expression on the animal’s face. We had quite a laugh at this and thought it was a pretty great project. Check it out if you need to put a smile on your face. If that Lemur doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will!

As this was our last show, make sure to check out our Media Fire account for today’s show or any other episodes you may have missed. We also would like to sincerely thank all of our listeners for tuning in and tweeting in stories, you really helped us with our project! In addition, any feedback you can provide about how we conducted the show, what you liked or didn’t like, and whether or not you found it useful/effective is greatly appreciated!

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