by Irma Voigt
Slacktivism reached an all time in high in January 2010, according to a report released by the National Center for Non-Service Research. Not to be confused with actual activism, slacktivism is the notion that people make a difference through passive means without actually contributing anything of substance to a cause.
Trends indicated an unusual spike in slacktivism in early January, attributed to a Facebook meme encouraging women to post the color of their bras as their statuses.
“I thought it was the New Years resolutioners” said Herman Kimball, founder of the Center. “They’re all inspired to make a difference at the beginning of the year. I never could have anticipated that it would continue to grow.”
After an earthquake rocked the small island nation of Haiti in mid-January, slacktivism numbers again increased, shattering all previous records.
“I couldn’t sit around feeling like I wasn’t helping,” said Ginger Rasphine, a student at Craigley University in Montana.
Rasphine reported that she planted and harvested more than 200 plots of white corn, a limited edition crop offered the popular Facebook application Farmville. To be eligible to access the crop, users donated 25 dollars or more of Farmville cash, a cyber currency earned for attaining new levels within the game.
“I’d been saving up for a mystery box,” Rasphine said, “But this seemed like a better use. I’m glad the people of Haiti will have something to eat now.”
A slacktivism scandal emerged when many discovered that a text message sent to the Red Cross charged a ten dollar donation to their own cellular phone bill rather than donating the money of a celebrity.
“Ten dollars is a lot,” said Taylor Reid, a student at Teakwood College. “My parents pay my cell phone bill and they’re going to be pissed.” Reid said he thought he was donating Wyclef Jean’s money and was more comfortable with that.
“It’s difficult to predict if this trend will continue,” said Kimball. “It really depends on what natural disasters may be coming down the pipe or what memes circulate. I have a lot of hope that 2010 is going to be a big year for slacktivists.”