Image via The Real Art of Protest.
I have just left the ActionAid UK blogger party (more about it a bit later) during which I have raised the point of measurement of the real value of clicktivism. I know that the discussion around the importance of clicktivism is endless but less just assume for a second that on-line sharing, spreading the word and simply liking causes does make a difference. How then as a blogger passionate about particular causes are we able to identify or just see if our personal involvement in a cause works? It's a complex question but sometimes really simple technical solutions can help. As I sat down in a pub waiting for my friends to arrive I had time to check my mail and open a message from Avaaz calling for support of one of their recent UK casues:
Education Secretary Michael Gove is rushing to sell off another of London's school fields. The announcement is imminent, but if we now raise our voices, hoarse from cheering on Team GB's stars -- we can save this precious green space for London’s future Olympians.
We can’t inspire a generation to play sport if there’s less and less space to play it. This government has already approved the sale of 21 school fields. Let’s make London 2012 the time a line is drawn to stop the sell-offs, starting with Elliott School in London where Team GB football star Fara Williams and I used to play when we were kids. The school is even a heritage-listed building, recognised by English Heritage as of national architectural importance. Under pressure, Gove is sending out conflicting messages about the sell-off, and a mass campaign, buoyed by Olympics euphoria, can save the school fields.
This is a golden opportunity to save school sports. If everyone joins the 96% of respondents to the official public consultatlon and many others who oppose the sell-off, we can get him to back down -- sign my petition now and share with everyone you know!
Ed Lattimore, former student
I feel strongly about this topic, I have a minute so I clicked through the linked and singed it. Now, of course I can share it and spread the word too, but I also think that even the signature was really clicktivism too. I did not have to go out in the street and protest or donate money. It took a minute indeed.
But when I went back to the petition site I could see names and approximate location of those who signed the petition with me. I could also sit and watch the number of signatures growing in front of my eyes - since I started writing this post over 1,500 people signed it. Now this FEELS good. I feel I am part of something that is important to many. I feel there are others out there who care and thanks to technology - a simple display of names and sum of signatures - makes me feel included.
I think charities should acknowledge that their supporters want to FEEL good about their actions and use all possible mechanisms to make that point too. It's probably easier for Avaaz than many other nonprofits due to the nature of this particular cause, but it's achievable for all.