How Change Happens
There’s a belief that a Like or petition signature doesn’t mean anything. Critics slam this behavior as slacktivism.
That’s pretty bad news for those of us who have committed to making change happen in our personal networks.
We use vehicles like walkathons, banquets and other fundraisers, petitions, social network updates with asks, requests to share information online, volunteer days, even flash mobs to get people to act.
Yet, we hear these individual acts like a $10 donation or a “retweet” on Twitter are dubbed slacktivism.
But moments of time online, fundraising events, and/or days of action do create change.
First of all, when done together as a community we can create statements.
For example, when someone like Doug Haslam, a friend of mine in Boston, raises money for cancer research by taking on a 100+ mile bike ride, we see someone make a statement about a cause. We become more interested. Perhaps we share Doug’s story, comment on a post he writes, even donate.
These acts are often dismissed as slacktivism.
Has Doug failed in his efforts to convince us to help him, and maybe even fight cancer ourselves?
As a result of Doug’s actions to raise $10,000, we–his friends–have been influenced.
- — We are twice as likely to volunteer their time (30% vs. 15%) and to take part in an event or walk (25% vs. 11%).
- — We are more than four times as likely to encourage others to contact political representatives (22% vs. 5%), and five times as likely to recruit others to sign petitions for a cause or social issue (20% vs. 4%).
- — We are as likely to donate to a friend’s cause as someone who does not engage in peer-to-peer networking.
Let’s go back to peer-to-peer influence. We can see how Doug’s acts have changed us.
Now we take up action to fight cancer, and choose to influence our own tightly knit social networks. Mutual friends will now see two people fundraising using events. Perhaps two more join us. Suddenly, you have a significant minority, an early adopter group of fundraisers in a relatively, tight knit group of people.
The change bug has been injected into the network. Influence grows with more voices amplifying the message, creating a safer movement for those who are on the fence.