Gen Y is frequently referred to in the media as useless, entitled, lazy and self–involved. As a member of Gen Y, I am going to have to disagree with the over-arching stereotypes; I believe that members of this generation can be passionate, determined and generous. We just have a different way of expressing ourselves. It is easily recognisable that social media is the platform of Gen Y. We do not just use social media for sharing our drunken escapades… and those beloved cat videos. Many have learnt to utilise the technology at their fingertips to raise awareness, share opinions and enact great change. This is known as clicktivism. Social media is being harnessed to organise protests, rally awareness and bring about change.
There is a campaign circulating Pinterest at the moment that is promoting the sale of t-shirts to raise money for orphans in Asia, known as the Show Hope campaign, organised by the organisation, Sevenly. The photo’s being pinned and shared are direct links to the website where you can purchase t-shirts and make donations.
In March, Facebook was utilised to raise awareness and donations for cancer, through the #nomakeuselfie. The idea started and spread on Facebook, by 18-year-old Fiona Cunningham (Murray, 2014).
However, it is easy to pin, share and like photos, or take a photo without make-up and post it to Facebook. Unless a donation is made, or a real step istaken to help the cause, then the clicktivism turns to an act of slacktivism. Jenni Murray, from Daily Mail’s, Mail Online, expresses her frustration on the attention-seeking selfies that result in no support for cancer research. Social media users need to realise that pinning, tweeting, liking and sharing will not save the world.
Although social media platforms can be great for promoting and support a cause, they need to be supported by real and physical revenues for change.
Murray, J 2014, ‘These selfies make me livid’, Mail Online, 2 April, viewed 8 May, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2595450/These-selfies-make-livid-Why-cancer-survivor-JENNI-MURRAY-angry-stars-helped-raise-millions-posting-photos-no-make-up.html>.