Activism 2.0

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Activism 2.0 can be defined as online activism “fitting into people’s everyday routines and finding ways for people to use technology and social media to habitually contribute to social change with small, practical acts and, often, clicks.”[1]

Origin and Usage[edit]


Activism 2.0 is a concept introduced by Justin Dillon in his film Call + Response. This film explores the 21st century slave trade and attempts to draw public attention to promote community-based activism to abolish slavery.[2]

Making A Difference by Editing Wikipedia[edit]

Because of Wikipedia's prominence in search engine results, and its ranking as one of the most popular sites on the web, it is considered by some[who?] to be a worthwhile form of activism to combat bias, such as racism (by removing false assumptions and stereotypes) in Wikipedia articles.[3]

Activism 2.0 vs. Slacktivism[edit]

Online activism is often considered slacktivism which is a pejorative term that describes "feel-good" measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that make slacktivists have the illusion that their actions have meaningful social impacts, while their actual impacts are in fact very limited.[4]

While critics question the effectiveness and meaningfulness of online activism, many activist websites defend themselves with success stories. In April 2011, the website which uses online petitions to promote social change was attacked by Chinese hackers and brought down. claimed that the attack was a result of the widespread—and for some unnerving—success of their online petition demanding the release of Ai Weiwei. Ai was released on June 22, 2011 from a Beijing prison, which deemed a victory for its online campaign.[citation needed]

Another online activism group, also accused of slacktivism, allows members to contribute by signing online petitions or donating money towards various causes. Avaaz details the successful resolution of issues they built campaigns around on their "Highlights" page. Avaaz does not specifically attribute their campaigns as the sole reason for the resolution of issues, but they do claim to have influence on the resolutions. In March 2011, Avaaz contributed over 1 million online actions, sent 668,784 messages and made 30,000 phone calls to members of Parliament in response to the Rupert Murdoch hacking scandal. MP Tom Watson noted Avaaz's contribution, saying

"Avaaz members in the UK and throughout the world lead the campaign to make politicians listen to the victims of phone hacking. Now everyone knows that Rupert Murdoch just got too powerful. The Government will have to act to make sure that a hacking scandal can never happen again. You spoke out. You made a difference. Thank you."

However, Christensen argues that whether their online campaigns are effective in influencing decision-making is hard to measure.[5] He notes that decision-makers’ words are often not credible because they tend to highlight the influence of citizens regardless of their actual impact. Additionally, while online activist groups tend to trumpet even their most modest successes, they rarely mention their more numerous unsuccessful ones.[5] Thus, the true effectiveness of online activism and its real impact on society remains illusory.


  1. ^ Ivie, Kristin. "Millennial Activism: Is it Activism 2.0 or Slacktivism?". Social Citizens. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Ivie, Kristin. "Social Citizen Sighting: Justin Dillon". Social Citizens. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Activism 2.0: Fight racism by editing Wikipedia". 
  4. ^ Morozov, E. "Foreign Policy: Brave New World of Slacktivism". NPR. 
  5. ^ a b Christensen, H. S. "Political Activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or Political Participation by Other Means?". First Monday.